NEW PRAGUE, Minn. - Authorities say one worker died and another was injured while working on a major construction project in the south metro.
The mishap occurred near the intersection of 260th Street and Drexel Avenue in New Prague around 8:50 Wednesday morning. A spokesman for the Cap X 2020 project says equipment failure caused the workers to plunge to the bottom of a 50-foot hole dug for a power pole.
Randy Fordice of Cap X 2020 tells KARE 11 it appears a strap suspending the workers broke, causing them to fall to the bottom of the hole.
Police have identified the man who died as Robert Fenstermacher, 28, of Oologah, Okla. Authorities say he died from head injuries sustained when he fell.
The other worker has been identified as Jeremy Moye, 37, of Machesney, Ill. Police say he was taken to Mayo One hospital in New Prague where he was treated for his injuries and released.
Both workers are from Aldridge Electric in Libertyville, Illinois, a subcontractor on the project.
Adridge Electric's Corporate Risk Manager Jeff Arnold says, "our crews work together, they all know each other. Our supervisors, our superintendent and that, are really shaken quite frankly."
The Cap X 2020 project involves power transmission lines that are being strung from Minnesota to South Dakota. The project website says when it is finished, the $2 billion project will stretch power lines over 800 miles. Fordice says the poles being installed are 140 feet tall, making it necessary to dig 50-foot holes in the ground with a base of rebar and cement.
OSHA inspectors arrived to the scene and began their investigation into the fatal incident. Fortice says all foundation work has been suspended for a week while the investigation takes place, but other aspects of the Cap X 2020 project will continue. He says workers have put in 500,000 man hours on the project so far without a problem until today. A check of OSHA safety records confirms this.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, CapX2020 says they offer their condolences to the deceased worker's family, friends and colleagues. They continue to say they are investigating the incident and cooperating with authorities in their investigations.
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