News Feature | June 6, 2018

Utility Worker Dies Under Manhole

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

A utility worker died while working under a manhole in Florida on Friday.

Anthony “Tony” Pimentel died while doing construction-type activities in Cape Coral, The News-Press reported.

“Pimentel was 53. His death is being investigated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Southwest Utility Systems, for whom Pimentel worked, has declined to comment. His name was released Monday,” the report stated.

“Witnesses say paramedics spent almost two hours working to recover the body, which had been submerged under water,” the Associated Press reported.

Limited oxygen below ground made it difficult to respond to the incident.

“Paramedics and firefighters from Cape Coral needed more than an hour after the 911 call at noon Friday to recover Pimentel’s body from under the water below a manhole at the 1300 block of NW 8th Terrace in Cape Coral, just north of Mariner High School and Tropicana Parkway. He was declared dead at 1:03 p.m.,” The News-Press reported.

An initial report stated it was unclear if Pimental suffered a medical problem on the job or if a different incident occurred. His family said he was in perfect health.

“His son-in-law, Ariel Figueroa, said he was convinced something happened below ground, such as interference from a gas line, that cut off Pimentel’s oxygen supply, causing him to fall under water,” the report said.

Pimental married his high school sweetheart, the report stated. He had two children and seven grandchildren.

The tragedy is a reminder of the dangerous conditions that workers often endure. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that 5,190 workers were killed on the job in 2016. On average, that amounts to more than 99 a week or more than 14 deaths every day. One in five worker deaths are in construction.