Belize

Heavy Machinery Freak Accident Kills Man on the Job!

Feb 23, 2021

Heavy Machinery Freak Accident Kills Man on the Job!

An employee of the Citrus Products of Belize Limited was killed on the job. The heavy machine operator was out working on a farm when the machine he was driving crushed him to death. The family is still trying to come to terms with the freak accident, while C.P.B.L. and police are reviewing the incident. Reporter Andrea Polanco has the story.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Tractor operator for C.P.B.L. Juan Garcia died on the job on Monday evening. Garcia was on a tractor spraying herbicide on this orange grove at mile twelve in Pomona Village.

On the Phone: Kent Herrera, C.F.O., C.P.B.L.

“Mr. Garcia was tasked that day to do herbiciding in our groves. He is one of our senior tractor operators. He was assigned to do herbiciding in the Pomona area. He left our compound around one o’clock on a task we believed would have taken him two hours so he would have returned to base let’s say around three-thirty.”

But Garcia never returned to work that evening. So, the farm supervisor went to look for him.  Around four that evening he found Garcia already dead. He had been crushed to death under the tractor he was driving.

On the Phone: Kent Herrera

“When he got there he reported that the saw the tractor overturned – the tractor that Mr. Garcia was operating was overturned and Mr. Garcia was trapped under the tractor so what Mr. Daniels did was to immediately contact our health and safety unit and the police.”

Garcia’s family says that they found out about the tragic accident closer to five that evening. According to sister-in-law Daizy Paredez , it’s hard to tell what happened because Garcia was alone when he died. The family suspects that weight of the herbicide may have toppled the tractor.

Daizy Paredez, Sister-in-law of Deceased

“They say that he got into that accident about two-thirty or three but my niece deh neva find out until five-five-thirty. So, it was shocking news to find out that he mi done dead. My niece deh just gone and they explain to them that they say the tractor he was driving was overloaded with poison so the weight flip over the tractor and that is when it dropped on top of my bra-lee and it smash ah.”

C.F.O. Kent Herrera says that the company is reviewing its occupational safety procedures to determine if anything went wrong. He says, however, that the tractor was in proper working condition and based on what they observed he doesn’t believe the weight of the chemical was responsible for toppling the tractor which killed Garcia.

On the Phone: Kent Herrera

“We do have a service center and a machine shop here that service these equipment and we do have an agriculture unit as well that task these drivers with the work they are supposed to undertake on any particular date. We are looking back on all of that – what transpired. What we do know though is that the herbicide rig that was attached to that tractor, given the time that Mr. Garcia was there herbiciding, we believe that the rig would have been almost emptied. As a matter of fact when we visited the site, Mr. Garcia was pretty much on the last grove of herbiciding and when we got there herbicide chemical was almost empty which would have tied in with what we would have expected that once that tank is full it takes  about two hours more or less to empty.”

The police are now investigating this incident.   Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

The company says that they have reached out to the family to provide support.

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