Marcus Goffena and two other workers fell to their death on Sept. 27 after the scaffolding on a TV tower they were repairing collapsed. The men were reportedly installing a new antenna for WSVN Channel 7 when the incident occurred. The identities of the two other workers have not yet been released.
According to news sources, the accident 2occurred on a transmitter tower at 501 NW 207 St. in Miami Gardens. The 1032-foot tower transmits signals for WPLG and WSVN. The cause of the collapse is not yet known. FCC records show that the tower was built in 2009 and is owned by Miami Tower, LLC.
“A tower collapsed underneath three guys,” Lt. Lay Felipe of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue told news sources shortly after the accident. “The three guys fell 300 to 400 feet.”
WPLG TV Channel 10’s assistant chief engineer Steve Ellis told viewers during a live broadcast after the incident that the workers were employed by a company that has performed repairs for Miami-area broadcasters on many occasions. He said the company is known for its safety considerations and its crew have the “highest qualifications,” but they do “dangerous work.” The three men were upgrading Channel 7’s transmission lines and antenna to comply with new Federal Communications Commission guidelines.
“They were removing gear at the top of the tower to install a new TV antenna for Channel 7,” Ellis said. “When they were removing this gear, bringing the second piece down—what they call the gin pole listening device collapsed, sadly taking the life of it looks like three tower workers.”
Goffena, 31, and his co-workers were employed by Tower King II, a Texas-based company that constructs and maintains large broadcast towers all over North America. It is unclear if the company has released a statement about the incident.
Goffena’s relatives told sources that he was in Florida to repair towers damaged by Hurricane Irma. His body will not be released to his family for at least a week, his father, David Goffena, said. He said he was notified of his son’s death on Wednesday by the owner of Tower King II and that the federal government is conducting an investigation to confirm that the incident was indeed an accident.
Records from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) show that 13 people have died from TV and cellular tower falls since 2011. OSHA agents were reportedly scheduled to visit the site on Sept. 28, but the results of their investigation have not yet been published.
OSHA is required to conduct a thorough investigation when a worker is killed at a construction site. While the investigation can sometimes take months to complete, figuring out what went wrong is necessary to prevent future deaths.