Worker killed after bridge collapses onto 91 Freeway

A Caltrans officials describes the moment a bridge collapsed, killing a worker on the 91 Freeway on Sunday.
A construction worker fell to his death Sunday morning when the bridge he was working on partly collapsed over the 91 Freeway in Riverside, snarling traffic in both directions.

The California Highway Patrol says crews had been replacing an old bridge near the Pachappa Railroad crossing between 14th Street and Central Avenue when the accident occurred around 3:15 a.m.

The bridge was being demolished as part of the 91 Freeway expansion when a component on the bridge apparently buckled, Cal Trans spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said.

Okesene Faasalele, 59, of Long Beach, was harnessed to a section of the bridge spanning the eastbound lanes that was being cut in half, and fell to his death when a portion of the structure buckled.

"He was up on the bridge, cutting the bridge deck in half, and he was almost at the end when the section he was standing on, for some reason, twisted underneath him. It twisted and he fell with the bridge deck portion as the bridge deck portion fell. He was harnessed to that side, but that side fell," Cal Trans spokeswoman Michelle Profant said.

Faasalele was transported to Riverside Community Hospital. He succumbed to his injuries around 4 a.m.

The 91 Freeway between Seventh Street and Adams Avenue had been closed since 11 p.m. Saturday, but the closure had been extended following the fatality. All westbound lanes of the 91 Freeway reopened Sunday at 2:08 p.m. Two eastbound lanes remain closed.

The cause of the construction accident remains under investigation.

CNS contributed to this report.
Related Topics:
news construction accident freeway traffic delay Riverside
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