Workers Plunge 100 Feet to their Deaths

Three workers lost their lives yesterday in a tragic, almost unbelievable incident.

In a tragic, almost unbelievable incident, three workers in Arkansas lost their lives yesterday. To say that it could have been avoided is probably a gross understatement.

The three men were replacing wires on a looming, 250-foot-tall cellular telephone tower near Little Rock, Ark., fell to their deaths Wednesday when the rope used to hoist them up broke.

The men, who worked for Allstate Construction Co. of Wagoner, Okla., were replacing guy wires on the tower owned by Alltel Corp. when the tragedy occurred. Investigators from the local sheriff''s office allegedly were told that the crew''s supervisor, Forest Barnes of Muskogee, Okla., ran a rope up the tower, tied one end of rope to some part or device on a pickup truck and the other end to the men. He then backed the truck up, hoisting the men in the air.

At some point during the dangerous operation, the rope gave way, sending the three men - Brian Barnes and John Seabolt of Muskogee and Jamie Anders of Hattiesburg, Miss. - plummeting to the ground. Brian Barnes was the nephew of Forest Barnes.

David Bates, assistant area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration''s (OSHA) Little Rock office, said his investigators are looking for Forest Barnes and hope to talk to him soon. Bates added that from what sheriff''s investigators were able to tell him, the rope used to hoist the men in the air was made out of some type of hemp or nylon, rather than metal.

Bates said that OSHA investigators have yet to conduct their own interviews, and are not sure at this time how the men were attached to the rope or each other.

by Sandy Smith ([email protected])

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