In a tragic turn of events, a 41-year-old man fell 200 feet to his death July 25, while working on a cell tower in Vienna, Md. It is the seventh tower climber fatality in 2013, one more than the average annual rate from 2003 to 2011.
The accident victim, Michael Frontiero Cortes, 41, of Morovis, Puerto Rico, fell from tower while repairing a satellite dish with a co-worker, according to the Maryland State Police, Easton Barrack. He was critically injured by the fall and had died by the time first responders arrived upon the scene.
Cortes was a tower engineer employed by Konet, which is listed as a Puerto Rican telecommunications consultant with 13 employees and annual revenue of $920,000, according to the Manta small business web site.
The unidentified co-worker said he was assisting Cortes by providing him with tools via a rope and pulley system. The co-worker said, as he was preparing some of the tools, he heard a thud. He turned around and as he looked behind him, saw Cortes lying unresponsive on the ground a few feet away.
While the accident is still under investigation, the body has been released to the next of kin and there no suspicion of foul play. The investigation is mainly focused on the circumstances surrounding Cortes’ and the company’s safety procedures and whether or not he was properly secured to the tower by a safety harness.
Ernest Worthman, AGL magazine editor, assisted in the reporting of this story.