Details from yesterday's water tower accident made available


Image courtesy of Google Earth

A 28-year-old man with a Missouri address amazingly was still conscious when first responders arrived, despite falling roughly 50 feet in a "lift cage" while re-painting the Scotsboro water tower on Wednesday afternoon, according to a Baldwin County Sheriff's Office incident report.

The Scotsboro water tower is located in the 160 block of the Gordon Highway/Ga. 243, closer to the bypass, and just north of the Stop & Shop.

The man, Jesus Alejandro Rubio, was airlifted to a Macon hospital.

When the first deputy arrived, he spotted Rubio "lying on his left side on the ground with his legs inside a construction lift cage, which appeared damaged by sudden ground impact." Rubio was wearing safety harness gear, although "at least one of the plastic buckle clasps (were) cracked," added the incident report.

It was very apparent that Rubio suffered serious leg injuries, as the deputy "observed a fresh rip upon Rubio's left boot which made a suspected compound fracture visible, as bone was also visible." Rubio's right leg also was bleeding from "another suspected compound leg fracture."

Baldwin County Fire Rescue and paramedics arrived and provided care for Rubio, while the deputy approached a second painting contractor on site. The second contractor shared the same Kansas City address as Rubio, and the two men worked as a team. 

The deputy quickly encountered a language barrier, so he "used a translation application on (his) phone)." According to the incident report, Rubio's partner was on the ground controlling the electric lift, while Rubio was high above painting the center column of the water tower.

Added the deputy's narrative: "Rubio and the motorized lift cage had obviously landed with great force directly beside the northwest side of the center column of the tower. Rubio's safety harness was still attached to the cage. There was a rope attached to the cage at the safety harness. The rope was still attached to an anchor point directly above. The motorized lift housing was freshly damaged from the sudden impact. I noted the switch lever positioned into the "OPEN" position. The cable extending from the motor was not connected to anything on the tower, but was laying on the ground around the cage. I located the end of the cable which was frayed and unraveled just beyond a small Ubolt attachment. I also observed the portable generator used to power the lift motor. The generator was at 937 hours and was missing its air filter and flywheel cover."

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