TV tower collapse in Missouri leaves 1 worker dead, several injured, officials say


Originally published by USA Today

Authors: Claudette Riley and Wes Johnson

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A TV tower in Missouri collapsed Thursday, killing one person and injuring several others, authorities say.

The tower near Fordland in Webster County was used to broadcast KOZK Ozarks Public Television, according to a spokeswoman for Missouri State University, which owns the tower.

Rob Talburt, assistant chief for the Logan-Rogersville Fire Protection District, said 50 to 60 emergency workers from multiple agencies responded to the tower collapse.

Talburt said that just before 10 a.m., six workers were performing routine maintenance on the 1,980-foot-tall tower when it went down.

The workers were about 105 feet high at the time of the collapse, Talburt said.

One worker was trapped and killed, Talburt said, and the five other workers suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

“It’s very lucky that we didn’t have more fatalities out here,” Talburt said.

Andrea Mostyn, spokeswoman for Missouri State University, said the university contracted with a company to perform work on the tower. She said she was not sure how long the crew had been working on the tower.

MSU spokeswoman Suzanne Shaw said the workers were installing structural support to accommodate new equipment associated with a channel change.

MSU issued a statement, calling the tower’s collapse and the ensuing death a “tragedy.”

“We are shocked and saddened by the news,” Shaw said in the statement. “Our condolences go out to the victims and their families. We are also providing support and resources to the other team members affected.”

Webster County Sheriff Roye Cole said the workers were replacing crossbeams on the tower.

John Myers, a structural engineering professor at Missouri University of Science and Technology, said it’s extremely rare for any type of structure like a TV tower to collapse without some type of major event, like a hurricane or tornado.