1 dead in excavator accident at Colonna’s Shipyard

WAVY/Erin Kelly

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Officials say a Colonna’s Shipyard worker died after an accident involving an excavator Monday afternoon.

First responders were called to the industrial accident near the 100 block of South Main Street around 1:20 p.m., according to Battalion Chief Bill Tull with Norfolk Fire-Rescue. At the scene, rescue crews found a worker in an excavator and pronounced him deceased.

The worker was later identified as 58-year-old Donald R. Thomas, of Chesapeake.

Chopper 10 flew above the scene and captured video of what appeared to be a concrete piling that had gone through the cab of an excavator. Several other pilings were on the ground nearby. On Tuesday, Virginia Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) confirmed Thomas was operating the excavator before concrete crushed the vehicle’s cab.

The cause of the accident remains unclear, but Norfolk Police Department Officer Daniel Hudson said there were no signs of foul play.

No one else was injured.

Norfolk Fire-Rescue, Norfolk police, and OSHA are all investigating the incident. OSHA said a compliance officer was on scene Monday afternoon.

Hudson said local agencies train for incidents like this.

“We’re all aware of how to communicate with each other, to investigate these types of incidents, and so hopefully we’ll be able to have some more information as to what led to the man’s death,” Hudson said.

Police said they wanted to talk to the man’s family before they release his name. The shipyard declined to comment.

In November, OSHA discovered 12 safety and health violations at Colonna’s Shipyard and the company faced thousands of dollars in penalties. According to online records, Colonna’s Shipyard has contested those violations.

Stay with WAVY.com for updates on this story.

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