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Worker death reported

A worker on the NC 127 bridge repair project fell into Lake Hickory early Aug. 30. The worker's body was recovered later that afternoon.

(Updated Aug. 30, 6:10 p.m.)      

Worker falls from NC 127 bridge, 
body recovered August 30

Hickory Fire Dept. officials reported the possible drowning of a worker on the NC 127 (North Center St.) bridge work site over the Catawba River.

At approximately 1:53 a.m. Tuesday morning, Aug. 30, Hickory firefighters responded to a possible drowning located in the area of 4800 North Center Street  (NC 127 bridge over the Catawba River/ Lake Hickory, between Catawba and Alexander County). 

Upon arrival, firefighters were told that that an employee who was working on the bridge fell into the water.  Reportedly additional employees went in the water to locate the worker; but were not successful, according to Terri Byers, Fire Education Coordinator with the department.

Various agencies responded to assist with the incident. 

Responding agencies included: Hickory Fire Department, Catawba County EMS, Bethlehem Fire & Rescue, Alexander Rescue Squad, Lovelady Rescue, Catawba County Emergency Management, Hickory Police Department, Alexander County Emergency Management, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, Catawba County Sheriff’s Department, Sherrill’s Ford Fire & Rescue, Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, Catawba Rescue, N.C. Department of Transportation, American Red Cross, and the Charlotte Fire Department Dive Team.

The Hickory Fire Department members wished to thank these agencies for their assistance.

Water rescue equipment responded to assist with location of the victim and emergency personnel requested additional specialized equipment and sonars to respond. At 3:04 p.m. Tuesday, the victim was removed from the water by divers.

The victim was identified by other media outlets as Filigonio Perez Bravo, age 24. He was said to have been installing fencing for a platform on the side of the bridge, had pulled on some tangled equipment, lost his balance, and fell into the lake. He was not wearing a flotation device.

The bridge repair contractor company was identified as Astron Contractors in earlier information from the N.C. Dept. of Transportation.

Officials with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are investigating the incident.


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