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Cause of collapse not yet released

By The Mercury

Officials have released no further information about the cause of the communications towers collapse that killed two contracted Union Pacific Railroad workers in Pottawatomie County earlier this week.

Aaron Hunt, a spokesman for the railroad company, said in an email that the investigation is under review of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Pottawatomie County Sheriff’s Department.

Calls to the sheriff’s department were not returned at press time.

The victims of the collapse, which happened Tuesday, were Martin Powers, 38, of St. Charles, Mo., and Seth Garner, 25, of St. Peters, Mo.

Powers died at the scene, while Garner was transported to Onaga Community Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

The incident occurred just north of Kansas Highway 16 and just east of Rock Creek Road, 1.5 miles southwest of Blaine in Pottawatomie County.

The towers collapsed shortly after 9 a.m. while Powers and Garner were in the process of dismantling an old tower.

Both workers were near the top of the tower, which was more than 250 feet high, when the tower unexpectedly fell.

The replacement tower, which had been erected beside the old one just a couple weeks prior, also fell.

Pottawatomie Emergency Management Director Chris Trudo said four people were at the scene at the time of the incident with two people on one of the towers.

The other two were on the ground and were not injured.

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