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Entrapped worker dies at Hartsfield-Jackson

By M.J. Subiria Arauz

marauz@news-daily.com

A man working at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was extricated from under a hydraulic lift, but did not survive, said Katena Carvajales, a spokeswoman for the airport.

"The Atlanta Police Department and Atlanta Fire Rescue responded," added Carvajales.

Eric Lee, 29, of Cartersville, was involved in a work-related accident in the airport's North Cargo area, located at 5400 North Loop Road, in Atlanta, according to an offense report from the Atlanta Police Department.

Officer E. Floyd was contacted by airport dispatch at about 4 p.m., on Tuesday, in regards to the incident, and was informed that Atlanta Fire Rescue was en route, the report said. Floyd arrived at the scene and noticed a man trapped underneath a hydraulic platform. "I could only see his head, which was moving from time to time," said Floyd.

The report said that Atlanta Fire Rescue and Grady Emergency Medical Service, a component of Grady Health System, arrived shortly after Floyd. Fire Rescue immediately provided fresh oxygen to Lee, and used special equipment to attempt to free him from the collapsed platform.

According to the report, Larry Estes was a witness to the incident. Estes informed Floyd that he is an owner of a construction company, and he and Lee were removing the hydraulic lift from the building dock. Estes was cutting some steel about 15 feet away from the platform, when he suddenly heard the victim scream.

Estes owns Estes Enterprises, Inc., located in White, Ga., according to the Georgia Secretary of State's web site, www.sos.georgia.gov.

It was reported that the company owner ran over to the scene of the accident and saw Lee stuck under the heavy steel platform. "Mr. Estes states he attempted to free Eric [Lee] by using a Bobcat tractor and a [Takeuchi] excavator, but could not free [Lee]," said Floyd.

Estes said Lee told him he was hurt. "Mr. Estes did state that he made contact with [Lee's] mother, who became very upset, so he talked with [Lee's] stepfather about what had occurred to [Lee]," said Floyd.

At about 7:45 p.m., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) arrived at the scene, said Floyd. Pictures were taken, the hydraulic platform was measured and the entire location was inspected. Estes was also interviewed by OSHA.

A Fulton County medical examiner arrived at approximately 8:05 p.m., and took custody of Lee's body, which was transported to the Fulton County Medical Examiner's Center, Floyd said.