A man working on a cell tower in Kentucky was killed on Wednesday in a freak accident that decapitated him, ripping off his right arm and leaving his body suspended hundreds of feet above the ground.
28-year-old Joel Metz, a father of four, was working on the tower for Fortune Wireless, a company based near his home in Indianapolis, WKYT reports. According to Harrison County Sheriff Bruce Hampton, Metz was part of a four person team working on the tower, all of whom were in their 20s. Two of the workers were on the ground, while two had ascended the cell tower at the time of the accident.
The team was attempting to lower an old boom and raise a new one on the tower when the accident occurred. Early reports indicated that a cable snapped during the operation. After investigating the scene, however, Hampton reported that the cable was in one piece, despite the fact that the three other workers reported hearing a loud “pop” when the accident occurred.
As the 1,800 lb boom fell, the cable struck Metz, decapitating him and severing his right arm. His body was left hanging from the tower by his safety harness, 240 feet in the air, local station Lex18 reports. Stacy Slade, who lives next door to the Verizon cell tower where the accident occurred, related the horror of the aftermath:
“It’s horrible, I cried. When I come out and looked up there I cried. All you can see is just his body hanging, it’s awful.”
Metz’s body was left hanging from the tower for five hours following the accident. A crew from Northern Kentucky Technical Rescue was called, and was able to bring Metz’s body down from the tower. “Especially for the guy that was there next to him and you see a man’s head, you see him just decapitated, it’s very frightful,” Sheriff Hampton pointed out, saying that while the other three workers weren’t hurt, they were shaken.
Working on cell phone towers is inherently dangerous, particularly because of the heights that must be scaled. Last year, The Inquisitr reported about another accident that involved workers in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, accidentally setting a cell tower on fire. In that incident, the tower began to lean, forcing the evacuation of nearby buildings.
“Not too many people are used to seeing that. And it’s a guy that you’ve been working next to,” Hampton related, saying that Metz’s co-workers were “very much beside themselves” in the wake of his decapitation on top of the cell tower.