Tribune-Courier News Reporter
Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have been contacted and are expected to launch an investigation into an incident at Quality Carriers in which an employee tragically lost his life last Friday, according to Calvert City Police Chief David Elliot.
Eric Young, 37, of Paducah, an employee of Quality Carriers, was performing routine maintenance and cleaning on a tanker truck on site when it is suspected that he fell in and became unconscious.
After Young didn’t come back out of the tanker, a second man, Richard Wheeler, of Murray, voluntarily entered the tanker to help Young out and also became unconscious.
Elliot said it was at that time a third employee tried to get the two men out, but realized he couldn’t do it on his own without putting himself in harms way, and called for help.
According to Elliot, members of CIMAP (Calvert Industrial Mutual Aid Program) pulled the men from the tanker and placed them in waiting ambulances.
Wheeler was transported by helicopter to an Evansville hospital. His condition is unknown.
Because of the location of Quality Carriers, the PHI Air Medical helicopter could not land on site and instead landed at the Calvert City Elementary School. Wheeler was reportedly conscious and talking when transferred to the helicopter.
Marshall County Coroner Mitchell Lee pronounced Young dead at the scene. After an autopsy Saturday, Lee confirmed the cause of death was asphyxia.
“With the scene evidence and autopsy we were able to confirm that Mr. Young died of asphyxia due to a lack of oxygen caused by nitrogen,” he said.
Nitrogen is one of the ingredients used to clean the tankers.
Elliot said the most troubling thing was the lack of knowledge about what actually happened on Friday.
“We don’t know if he fell in, or if he stuck his head in to look at something or his head lamp fell off and he tried to grab it,” Elliot said. “We just don’t know. That’s what makes it so hard.”
Quality Carriers is a bulk transportation company in Calvert City located near the industrial complex.