Repack Work Claims Three Lives

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA.—On Wednesday afternoon, three tower workers were killed after scaffolding on the television tower for WSVN Channel 7 and WPLG TV Channel 10 collapsed, according to reports by Miami Patch and Local 10 News. The workers were from Texas-based Tower King II and were contracted to upgrade the transmission lines and antennas of the tower to comply with the FCC repack.

“They were removing gear at the top of the tower to install a new TV antenna for Channel 7,” said Steve Ellis, the assistant chief engineer for WPLG TV, in a live broadcast after the accident. “When they were removing this gear, bringing down the second piece—what they call the gin pole lifting device collapsed, sadly taking the life of it looks like three tower workers.” Ellis said that the gin pole was about 960 feet above ground.

Lt. Lay Felipe of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue estimated that the workers fell between 300 and 400 feet.

It is not yet known what caused the collapse, though WPLG TV reported that it observed frayed wires near the top of the tower from its Sky 10 helicopter. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is expected to visit the site on Thursday.

The tower was completed in 2009, per WPLG TV.

For more information on the repack, visit TV Technology's repack silo.