The technician who was injured while building a cell tower in the Navajo Nation reservation is now in fair condition, according to San Juan Regional Medical Center spokeswoman Kathryn Pettijohn. Sammy Pacheco, 51, was airlifted to the hospital after the 60-foot section of a cell tower he was working on fell over on top of him.
Pacheco was working for L&B Telecommunications, which was lifting the last section of a 150-foot tower into place when the incident occurred. Apparently the crane was unable to lift the section high enough to successfully position the section, so it was brought down for re-rigging.
Pacheco climbed up the tower section, while it was still being suspended upright above the ground, and it became detached from the crane and then toppled over crushing him. He was then airlifted to San Juan Regional Medical Center and is listed in critical condition.
L&B Telecommunications, which was hired by the Navajo Nation Tribal Utility Authority to build the cell tower, has had other run-ins with Navajo Nation Occupational Safety and Health Administration (NNOSHA), according the organization’s senior safety technician, Julius Elwood. NNOSHA is being assisted by New Mexico OSHA and federal OSHA personnel in its investigation.
The Navajo Nation currently has 700 cell towers across more than 27,000 square miles in northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah and northwestern New Mexico.