3 dead after equipment collapses at TV tower in Miami Gardens

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Three men working on a television transmission tower fell to their deaths after the piece of equipment they were on collapsed in Miami Gardens, Wednesday.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue responded to the scene at 501 NW 207th St. in Miami Gardens, at around 4 p.m.

7Skyforce HD hovered above the scene showing the victims’ bodies covered by yellow tarps.

WSVN had hired Tower King II out of Texas to do work on the tower, which is jointly owned with WPLG. Officials said the crew members were on an apparatus, called a gin pole, that’s attached to the tower when the equipment somehow became separated from the tower, causing them to fall.

Area resident Eric Garner who alerted authorities said he heard the collapse. “It sounded like a big explosion, like a mini-bomb or something,” he said.

Officials said the crew fell from the top of the tower, which stands approximately 1,000 feet tall.

The gin pole is used to reach items in structures that a crane cannot normally reach.

“I’d been noticing the crane for a while,” said Garner as he referred to the gin pole. “They’ve had the structure up there a couple of days ago.”

Garner said he spotted the men just before the accident. “I saw the guys on top of it. The cord was hanging down. I went in the house, and I heard the noise,” he said. “It sounded like the winds from the hurricane, the cord ripping, and then when I heard the boom, I saw the debris flap in the air, and I immediately called 911.”

But it was too late for the workers, one of whom is the son of the owner of Tower King II.

“I saw the guys up there, and I just felt so bad for them,” said Garner. “I just pray for the guys, their families. [My heart] goes out to them. It’s a very tragic thing.”

WSVN-TV owner and president Edmund Ansin released a statement that reads, “We are saddened by this tragic event. Our deepest sympathies go out to the families of the three men who died. They worked for a company hired by Channel 7 to perform work on the tower that was required by the [Federal Communications Commission].”

Officials have not released the victims’ names. One of them was in his early 20s.

Investigators remain at the scene Thursday morning. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also expected to get involved in the investigation.

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