A security guard in his 70s was crushed to death by a falling gate at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition Center overnight, police said Tuesday.
The guard, who was not named, appeared to have been killed while he was closing a gate after letting a vehicle off the fairgrounds at Tamiami Park near Coral Way, said Miami-Dade police spokeswoman Robin Pinkard. Another worker found the guard dead around 6:20 a.m. and called police, she added.
According to the fairgrounds’ calendar, the expo center had been hosting a handful of sporting events, including youth basketball and a summer camp. It was unclear when some of the events ended Monday and when the gate might have fallen on the worker. Police are investigating the death as an accident, Pinkard said.
"We are saddened by the death of our longtime employee from an apparent workplace accident,” the center said in a statement. “We are cooperating with police, who are conducting a thorough investigation.”
The death was the second in as many years to occur on the fairgrounds. In April 2016, a worker for one of the companies operating some of the carnival rides was killed during a routine inspection shortly before the fair was supposed to open for the day. No other worker fatalities have occurred in the fair’s 66-year history, though a handful of carnival riders have been injured by malfunctioning equipment.
A 45-year-old woman was hurt in 2008 when her ride car tipped and knocked her to the ground. In 2004, three people were flung from the Gravitron ride when one of its metal walls burst open, causing one 16-year-old girl to suffer critical head injuries and four additional people on the ground to sustain mild injuries. In 2000, a metal sign fell from a ride and cut a teenage girl on the face.