Spokane Tribe Casino Construction Accident Leads to Worker’s Death, Cause Under Investigation
Posted on: March 8, 2023, 02:53h.
Last updated on: March 8, 2023, 12:57h.
The worker, identified as Ana Vetter, was described as a journeyman carpenter who worked for a subcontractor on the project. She apparently died at the construction site. It appears no one else was injured.
The accident took place at about 9:30 a.m. at the five-story hotel now being built at the Airway Heights, Wash. complex.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation by Washington State and federal officials, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Vetter’s death doesn’t appear to have been caused by a building collapse, based on initial news reports.
One local TV station, KREM, reported Vetter’s death was linked to a “formwork collapse.” Formwork is the mold in which concrete is placed to eventually dry into shapes.
One of the companies working on the construction project, Swinerton, Inc., released a statement on Tuesday confirming that a “formwork collapse” occurred.
“The circumstances of this situation are unclear at this time and it is too early to speculate on what may have been the cause of this incident. Safety is our number one priority, when something like this happens it is our responsibility to find out why,” the statement added.
Witnesses reported a loud noise before the incident.
“The noise it made was unlike anything I’ve ever heard before,” Rick Bennett, the CEO of BioGone, told Washington State TV station KHQ. Bennett was at the casino for a business meeting.
The whole parking lot shook. It was so loud. So heavy that it literally made this big parking lot shake. I didn’t see what fell, but I sure felt it,” Bennett was quoted by Washington State TV station KXLY.
When Bennett asked workers what took place, they pointed out how a crew was lifting a “massive piece of metal” with a crane, KXLY reported. He estimated it was 30 by 70 or 90 feet large.
Vetter had been working at the construction site for a couple of months and was recently engaged to her fiance.
NEW: The person killed in a construction accident at Spokane Tribe Casino has been identified by family as 27-year-old Ana Vetter. Her parents called the station and told me she loved her job, fiance and 4 dogs. Their emotional interview tonight at 10 and 11 on @KREM2 pic.twitter.com/NyT5iNTKof
— Kyle Simchuk (@KyleSimchuk) March 8, 2023
When reached by KREM, Vetter’s father, Paul Vetter, said, “Safety was one of her major, major things, and for this to happen, it’s just devastating.”
The victim’s mother, Sandi Vetter, said her daughter got “up at the crack of dawn and goes to these job sites and she just loves it.”
“The family and work crew on site are at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers,” Javier De La Rosa, Spokane Tribe Casino’s general manager, said in a statement.
The hotel is scheduled to open later in 2023. In coming years, the casino plans to add a convention center, an entertainment center, a cultural center, and more restaurants and retail stores.
Recently, the casino doubled the size of its gaming floor.
The casino is operated by the Spokane Tribe of Indians and is located about 10 miles west of Spokane, Wash.
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