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Construction death investigation continues

October 13, 2009 4:03:20 PM PDT
As an investigation continues into the collapse of a construction lift in Center City Philadelphia, one man says he's just glad he walked away with his life.James Wilson, 41, was killed when the lift he was operating fell in the area of 21st and Walnut Streets on Monday. He was on one of two lifts being used to inspect the masonry on the First Presbyterian Church.

A spotter was tending to the other lift when it happened.

Wilson's lift tilted suddenly when one of its wheels went through the lid of a utility box on the sidewalk.

Wilson's boss says he had 25 years of experience and was one of his most safety conscious employees. He said Wilson's co-workers are still in shock.

The lift smashed a car when it came down, but that's not all. It also hit an apartment building on the way down, raining bricks and other debris on the street below.

Bill Wolf was in a car with his ex-wife, Patricia, when it happened. He said ihe had no time to react, his only instinct was to shield Patricia.

"It was hitting her, for some reason, more than myself. I realized it was coming from the sky, but I hadn't the faintest idea why," Wolf said, adding he's still trying to absorb it all, knowing that he came within inches of losing his life.

"I said a prayer, after, because it was devastating."

It will be awhile before the investigation is completed, but sources close to the ivnestigation tell Action News that it is likely to be ruled a case of operator error.


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