08/31/2004
Deadly Water Tower Accident In Marshall, MN
 

Witnesses say he clung to a safety harness and shouted down to his coworkers on the ground, begging them not to die.

But, for one of the South Dakota men, it was too late. Tonight, Minnesota investigators are trying to figure out what caused the painters' scaffolding to come crashing to the ground in Marshall.KELOLAND's News was at the scene where local and state officials are investigating the accident at the water tower.

Three South Dakota men, working for Maguire Iron out of Sioux Falls, were involved in the accident. 29 year old David Karst of Sisseton died in the fall.Two of his co-workers, Joseph Kaderabek and Christopher Duerksen, both of Bridgewater, were hurt. Neighbors say they'd been working on the water tower for weeks.

From a distance you can see their progress. Up close, you can see the crumpled paint cans, a dry brush, and a lone glove. They're reminders that something went terribly wrong at the 6th Street tower.

Tammy Coudron who lives across the street from the tower said,"It was scary. It was very scary. The guy was screaming and his neck was hurt."

The three-man crew was working it's way around the massive structure. And around 1:45 Monday afternoon something happened to the scaffolding.

Coudron said, "One was hanging there and the other two were on the ground."

water tower 2

Neighbors watched as firefighters brought in a truck to get him down.The harness still hangs hundreds of feet above the ground, above it there's a bottle of Mountain Dew. On the ground, state and local investigators are trying to figure out what happened, studying the scaffolding, and the ropes and cables that once held it up.

They spent a majority of their time examining the left side of the equipment. A spokesman with OSHA wouldn't comment on specifics, but says this is the beginning of an extensive investigation.

In addition to studying the equipment, officials are also interviewing people who witnessed the fall. It could be a month before we know exactly what caused the accident.

Anna Peters
2004 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.