Tragic death at Baylor's new $250 million football stadium leaves plenty of unanswered questions
One man is dead following a tragic construction accident on a pedestrian bridge leading to Baylor University's sparkling new $250 million football stadium, which is scheduled to open later this year.
The body of Jose Dario Suarez was recovered from the Brazos River late Tuesday after a construction platform collapsed from a bridge connecting the university campus to the new athletic complex.
The victim and an unnamed co-worker were tethered to the platform, which was attached to a crane, when it fell just before 4 p.m. One man unharnessed himself and was rushed to a nearby hospital with hypothermia, while the other failed to surface from the frigid river.
The workers were tethered to the platform when it collapsed.
Dive teams searched waters as deep as 20 feet for nearly four hours before discovering Suarez's body.
Waco police sergeant W. Patrick Swanton told reporters that it remains unclear if wind played a factor in the platform's collapse. The National Weather Service reported winds at nearby Waco Regional Airport at 18 mph around the time of the incident.
“Our thoughts go out to the Suarez family at this terribly sad hour,” Baylor University chancellor Ken Starr said in a statement. “All of Baylor Nation extends our deepest sympathies as we remember in our prayers Jose Suarez and all those whom he loved.”
The accident comes less than two months after a construction worker fell to his death in a Caterpillar loading machine during renovations at Texas A&M's Kyle Field. A federal investigation into the safety standards at the A&M building site is underway. The worker's family, meanwhile, has filed suit against contractors involved in the $450 million renovation effort.
A spokesperson with Austin Industries — one of two building firms leading the Baylor stadium construction — tells CultureMap his company is "cooperating in all investigations" related to the tragic death.