Officials have identified the worker killed when he fell into an empty water tower yesterday in Lower Providence Township, and the man saved in a dramatic rescue.
Jason Schmidt, 31, of Jacobus, York County, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, officials said this morning.
The second man, who was suspended in midair for over three hours in a safety harness, was identified as Miguel Martinez, 38, of Pennsgrove, Salem County. Martinez was taken to Paoli Memorial Hospital.
The two were working for a Salem County company hired to perform maintenance at the 80-foot aqua-colored tower, owned by the Audubon Water Authority. A third employee was uninjured.
Schmidt fell to the bottom of the tank, which had been drained for the maintenance, and Martinez's equipment somehow became suspended in the tank.
Lower Providence Township Fire Chief Bryan McFarland blamed the accident on an equipment malfunction.
Martinez was saved during an intense rescue operation involving 50 emergency personnel, including a Norristown fireman who climbed into the tank.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration was investigating the incident.
The three employees worked for Corrision Control Corp., of Pedricktown, Salem County, N.J., which has OSHA history, said Joanna P. Hawkins, deputy regional director for the U.S. Department of Labor in its Philadelphia office.
In 2008, an employee who had been sandblasting at a Philadelphia location died and OSHA assessed an $18,000 fine, records show.