Elevator Worker Dies During Construction of New San Francisco 49ers Stadium

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2013

Photo courtesy of SFGate.com
Photo courtesy of SFGate.com

Tragedy struck on Tuesday morning in Santa Clara, Calif., as an elevator subcontractor was killed while working on the San Francisco 49ers' new Levi's Stadium. The news comes from Lisa Fernandez, Bob Redell and Alan Waples of NBC Bay Area.

UPDATE: Tuesday, June 11, at 3:43 p.m. ET by Kyle Vassalo

Mark Gomez and Robert Salonga MercuryNews.com provide details of the accident:

"According to an initial report by the state workplace-safety watchdog Cal OSHA, the mechanic was standing on a ladder at the bottom of an elevator shaft when he was hit from above by an elevator counter weight.

Sources have identified the worker as 63-year-old Donald White. He was an employee of Schindler Elevator, a Switzerland-based company with U.S. headquarters in Morristown, New Jersey. Further details about White were not immediately available."

The report features a statement released by the 49ers on the incident:

"the 49ers organization was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the news at the construction site. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and co-workers affected by this tragedy. The 49ers family has lost a teammate today."

The report also includes a statement from Santa Clara city spokesman Daniel Beerman:

"The city of Santa Clara was deeply saddened to learn the results of a tragic incident that occurred early this morning. We wish to express our sincerest sympathies to the family and relatives of the worker who lost his life."

---End of Update---

Construction personnel have been working vigorously to prepare the 49ers' new home for use in the 2014 NFL season. While details of the tragic incident are still being collected, KRON 4 News is reporting that the now-deceased worker was in the bottom of an elevator shaft before another worker dropped a counter-weight and accidentally killed the victim:

According to Fernandez, Redell and Waples, the incident happened at 9:45 a.m. ET, and workers were sent home at 11 a.m. ET.

Santa Clara city spokesman Dan Beerman called the death "devastating" and claimed that it has deeply affected the city, according to CBS Local in San Francisco.

It’s a shame because we’ve had 1,000 people a day working on that site for well over a year now and we’ve had very minimal accidents, and to have this is just devastating for everybody.

In addition to hosting the Niners in 2014 and beyond, Levi's Stadium will be the home of Super Bowl L in 2016, according to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com. It will be the first Bay Area Super Bowl since 1985.    

This unfortunate situation has momentarily halted progress, and there is no indication of the timetable for Levi's Stadium's construction being affected at this time.

These construction workers operate in dangerous environments, and sadly this situation at Levi's Stadium is a reminder of that.

Our thoughts go out to this person's family and friends during this difficult time.


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