A man was crushed Wednesday morning when a concrete slab weighing 30,000 to 40,000 pounds fell on him at a construction site for an apartment complex in Southeast Austin.
Emergency crews responded around 9:14 a.m. to reports of a man trapped under a slab just inside a fenced-off site at Wickersham Lane and Cromwell Circle. Rescuers initially were unable to get to the victim, who was pinned under the slab as it leaned against a tractor-trailer sitting under a crane.
Firefighters got to work with sledgehammers, drills and other tools to cut away at the slab and free the man, but when they finally reached him, he was dead. Authorities did not identify the man.
Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services crews pronounced him dead at 10:01 a.m.
Austin Fire Department Division Chief Palmer Buck said the slab was a preformed concrete panel for a parking garage being built on the site. Exactly how the man became trapped under the slab wasn’t immediately known.
Victor Arocha, a teenager who lives in an apartment complex across Wickersham, said he and his parents heard a loud crash in the morning and then sirens.
He came outside with his mother and saw first responders surrounding a large pile of concrete, he said.
“It’s terrifying,” Arocha said. “When I saw the crime scene van, I just (thought), ‘I don’t think this guy made it at all.’”
Cadence McShane Construction Co. signs mark the site, where developers are building the Edison apartment complex near East Riverside Drive and Pleasant Valley Road.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of a subcontractor’s worker at the Austin construction site this morning and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and co-workers,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. “Along with other companies working at the site, we are assisting the proper authorities who are investigating this incident.”