Missouri City, TX Television Tower Collapse, Dec 1982
TOWER COLLAPSE HURLS 5 MEN TO THEIR DEATH.
Missouri City (AP) -- An 1,800 foot tall television tower toppled as workers were lifting an antenna onto its pinnacle Tuesday, hurling five men to their deaths. Three others on the ground were injured.
The dead had been working on the antenna as it was being lifted atop the tower, said Lt. Roger Boyd of the Fort Bend Sheriff's Department in this suburb southwest of Houston.
Bill Cordell, chief engineer for KIKK, one of the radio stations scheduled to use the tower, said the workers had lifted one antenna atop the tower and were lifting a second when a gin pole being used as part of the lifting mechanism failed, causing the antenna to fall and sever a guy wire.
Andy Hudack, an engineer on the project, recorded the accident on videotape. The only sounds heard on the tape were his anguished,
"Oh, my God" and several seconds of the roaring collapse.
"I heard something snap," he said later. "Then the tower started falling. I just put my gear down rather hastily and got out of the way."
The falling tower crushed a building belonging to independent television station KTXH Channel 29.
Hours after the accident the tower lay in a mass of twisted metal, with cable the size of a man's wrist stretching for hundreds of yards from the wreckage.
The victims "were all killed by multiple injuries ..
They were all in bad shape," said Peace Justice L. F. Eguia. "You've got to remember, they were riding this thing down."
Three Houston men who were working atop another building near the tower were injured when they leaped or were thrown from a second-story roof.
Cordell said the victims were employed by Worldwide Tower Service Inc. of Pitman, N.J.
GENE CROSBY, 24, of North Carolina.
DAVID STEWART, 27, of North Carolina.
DONALD K. OWENS, 21, of Mississippi.
JOHNNIE WILSON, about 26, of South Carolina.
JOHNNIE BRATTEN, 26, of South Carolina, said A. J. Noto, dispatcher for the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department.
Of the injured, J. L. CHAPMAN, 52, was to undergo surgery for multiple fractures at Hermann Hospital today, while JAMES MYER, 31, was treated for multiple contusions and released and CARL SMITH, 23, was in stable condition with a broken pelvis, hospital spokesmen said.
The tower was operated by the Senior Road Tower Project, a consortium of KTXH-TV and several radio stations.
The mast was in the final stages of construction
and workers had been doing tests and installations on it, officials said.
Galveston Daily News Texas 1982-12-08