CYNTHIANA, Ky. (WISH) — Joel Metz, a 28-year-old Plainfield man, was decapitated on Wednesday afternoon in Central Kentucky while working on a cell tower. The Harrison County Sheriff says a cable snapped and killed Metz. It took workers around five hours to retrieve his body, which was still in the tower.
The mother of his children remembers Metz as a hard worker who loved his job and a great father. Metz leaves behind three young boys. The last photo Metz posted on Facebook was of his final view, looking out over Cynthiana, Kentucky from the top of the tower.
Metz was working with three other men, also from Indiana. They all worked for Fortune Wireless, a business doing contract work for Verizon.
“Not too many people are used to seeing that. It’s a guy that you’ve been working next to, it could have been him. Nobody else was injured and they’re just very much beside themselves,” said Harrison County Sheriff Bruce Hampton.
Now, even first emergency crews are seeking counseling after witnessing such a horrible sight.
“When we’re out there doing a job, we got a job to do. We’re set in a mode, we got adrenaline pumping, our training takes over. At the end of the day, we don’t get a lot of training on how to deal with horrific accidents. Stuff you normally shouldn’t see anytime in a lifetime,” said Cynthiana Fire Department Chief Jay Sanders.
Tower work is a risky business. Earlier this year, OSHA warned cell tower contractors and companies about an “alarming increase” in worker deaths. 13 tower workers died in 2013. That’s more than double the fatalities in the previous two years combined.
Back in 2011, two workers died in Tippecanoe County, after falling nearly 500 feet from a radio tower.