Three men have been killed in a Raleigh, North Carolina, tragedy. A section of scaffolding collapsed during a high-rise construction project, sending three construction workers to their deaths and seriously injuring another. At 11 a.m., the platform on which the men were working fell from the Charter Square building in downtown Raleigh, nearly 11 stories up from the ground.
According to the Washington Post, the names of the three workers killed in the Raleigh tragedy have been released. Authorities have identified the men as Jose Erasmo Hernandez, age 41, Jose Luis Lopez-Ramirez, 33, and Anderson Almeida, 33. The worker who survived the collapse was 53-year-old Elmer Guevara. He was rushed to the hospital, but there is no information so far on his condition.
According to ABC, an eyewitness named Leroy Kelly saw the Raleigh tragedy unfold on the 11-story building. He heard the scaffolding cracking and popping as it fell apart and watched the four men drop with the broken platform.
“I ran, and it fell like 2 feet away from me,” Kelly said. “It could’ve been me. I was literally right under there.”
Later, chunks of the scaffold were found inside the building, broken through the windows. The rest of the pieces were found in the parking lot.
“I’ve been in construction 30 years. It’s about the worst I’ve ever seen,” Ricky Lee, a fellow Raleigh construction worker, said about the tragedy.
The general contractor for the Charter Square building in Raleigh is the Choate Construction Company. A spokesman for the company explained that the scaffolding tragedy occurred while a subcontractor named Associated Scaffolding was trying to dismantle the scaffolding outside the building.
Choate Construction Company released a statement about the tragedy in Raleigh.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries suffered during this incident. Our first and primary concern is for these personnel and their families. We request your thoughts and prayers at this time.”
It’s unclear if either company will be held accountable for the deaths of the Raleigh men at this time.
“It’s entirely too early to say what happened,” said Jeff Hammerstein from Wake County Emergency Medical Services in Raleigh.
However, ABC did investigate the companies involved in the Raleigh tragedy and discovered that Associated Scaffolding had six safety violations recorded in 2007 and 2008. Two of those violations were considered major, although this does mean the subcontractor is responsible for the accident.
A similar tragedy happened in Bangladesh earlier this month, where an unsafe factory roof collapsed, killing six people.