OSHA Investigating Industrial Accident that Killed 22-Year Old

A 22-year old man was killed in a tragic industrial accident just before noon Tuesday at the Coastal Plating Company, along the 5300 block of Leopard.

The victim has been identified as Christopher Michael Cantu, who had only been on the job for three days before Tuesday's incident. Cantu was killed when a piece of heavy equipment, a 2,600 pound metal tank, fell on him.

"It's tragic," said Lt. Isaac Valencia of the Corpus Christi Police Department. "You can imagine the emotions of the fellow workers, and the people related with the company."

Investigators said that Cantu's fellow employees rushed to his aid, but the tank he was working on was so massive, there was little they could do. By the time EMS crews arrived, it was too late.

"There were efforts, but you're talking about some heavy equipment in there. I mean, really, you'd have to see it with your own eyes to understand what I'm talking about," Valencia said. "There comes a point when you have so much mass on you it doesn't really, or you hope that it might, make a difference; but the fact of the matter, if you drop a tank on someone your chances of survival are very, very minimal."

According to employees, who did not want to be identified, Cantu was among a crew of 10 people working in the unit where the accident happened. It is not known what Cantu was doing when the mishap occurred, other than the fact that he was in a crouched position when the tank fell on him.

This is not the first time Coastal Plating has had accidents at its facility. The company has been investigated and fined by OSHA in the past few years.

In one report, OSHA stated that, "The employer did not furnish employment and a place of employment which were free from recognized hazards that were causing, or likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees, in that employees were exposed to a struck-by hazard."

OSHA investigators were back at Coastal Plating Tuesday afternoon for what is yet to be another investigation into the death of Cantu.


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