Man dies in industrial accident while preparing for World Ag Expo

A man was killed while setting up for the World Ag Expo.
February 8, 2014 7:10:18 PM PST
A man in his 40's was killed while setting up for the World Ag Expo Saturday. The deadly industrial accident happened around 1:30 p.m. just three days before the event.

Set up crews were deeply affected by the accident. Witnesses tried to save the man, but couldn't and he passed away on scene.

Tulare firefighters say the man was on a John Deere tractor that was pulling a trailer and at some point the tractor may have hit something or taken a sharp turn when the victim fell. Investigators say he was pulled underneath the trailer and died soon after.

"It's a horrible thing this person is there doing a job and things sometimes go wrong and it's sad," Contractor Aaron Cookus said.

Cookus is also helping set up for the expo. More than 1,400 exhibitors are expected this year, including farmers and agriculture industry leaders. The annual expo pumps millions of dollars into the area and setting up for the large crowds is often done under tight deadlines.

"There is usually a lot of people there. Its chaos unloading stuff trying and moving stuff around, trying to set up in time," Cookus said.

Action News has learned the victim was a contractor for an out of town company. Firefighters say several witnesses who witnessed the accident used forklifts to push the trailer off the victim. A spokesperson for the expo said everyone is saddened by his death.

In a statement World Ag Expo Spokesperson Liza Teixeira said, "We send out our condolences to the family and friends of the individual who lost his life today. Our thoughts and prayers are with that family and it really was a tragic incident and we wish them the best in the coming days they deal with this unfortunate situation."

Cal Osha investigators will take over the investigation to determine exactly what happened leading up to accident. Set up will go on as expected Sunday.


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