Miami Gardens police have identified the three construction workers killed Wednesday night after they fell from a 1,000-foot pole that was attached to a TV transmission tower.
The three men, who were attempting to install a transmission antenna, were identified Thursday as Brachton Barber, 23, of Longwood, Florida; Benito Rodriguez, 35, of Tampa; and Marcus Goffena, 31, of Ohio.
Little information on what caused the scaffolding around the tower to collapse has been released. The trio of workers, employed by Texas-based Tower King II, were replacing an antenna for WSVN-Channel 7 when the scaffolding went down. The tower is also used by WPLG-Channel 10.
“The 3 victims were attached with safety straps to a gin pole being supported by the transmission tower and were near the top of the tower. A malfunction occurred and the gin pole fell from the tower,” Miami Gardens police Maj. Gary Smith said in a statement.
Michael D’Aquino, a regional spokesman of OSHA, said the agency had opened a preliminary investigation but declined to provide details.
OSHA has investigated about 30 fatal construction cases at communications towers since 2012, according to an agency spreadsheet, including a communications tower collapse in February 2014 that killed two workers and a responding firefighter in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
But until Wednesday, no more than two workers had been killed in any single incident investigated by the workplace safety agency, making it the deadliest plunge investigated by federal officials in five years.
The tower, 501 NW 207th St. in Miami Gardens, was completed in 2009 and has transmitted a signal since then. The tower is owned by Miami Tower, LLC, which has the same Pembroke Park address as WPLG.
Tower King II did not respond to a request for comment Thursday. The company was fined a total of $600 for two sets of “serious” safety violations in 2008 and 2011, according to a search of agency records, though additional information on the reasons for the fines was not available.