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Cell tower death identified as 28-year-old father of four

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CYNTHIANA, Ky. (WKYT) - The worker killed while working on a Harrison County cell phone tower has been identified as 28-year-old Joel Metz, a father of four.

A cable somehow decapitated Metz and left his body suspended from the tower on Waits Road off Kentucky 36 Wednesday afternoon.

A preliminary autopsy report says Metz died from blunt force injuries and his death is an accident.

Harrison County Sheriff Bruce Hampton says Metz worked for Fortune Wireless out of Indianapolis which is near where Metz lived.

The company was back out at the scene Thursday morning trying to figure out what caused the cable to loosen leading to Metz's death.

Authorities first believed the cable had broken, but after investigating the sheriff says the cable was still in one piece. The three other workers at the tower reported hearing a loud pop before realizing what happened, according to the sheriff.

"Not too many people are used to seeing that. And it's a guy that you've been working next to," said Sheriff Hampton. "And it could have been him. Nobody else was injured. And they are just very much beside themselves."

Sheriff Hampton says the men were taking down an old boom and bringing up a new one when a cable broke, decapitating one worker and ripping off his right arm.

"It got within two feet of where it was going and something broke and then the 1,800-pound boom fell," said Sheriff Hampton.

The worker's body was left suspended 240 feet in the air, and crews were left trying to determine how to get the man down. Crews with Northern Kentucky Technical Rescue finally removed the body around 10 p.m. Thursday.

"Our thoughts are with the family, loved ones and colleagues of the worker who died in the July 2 incident near Cynthiana, Kentucky," said Verizon Wireless in a statement to WKYT about the incident. "We are working closely with our vendor and the Sheriff's department as they continue to investigate the situation."

First responders struggling with the intensity of the accident scene have help available. The city of Cynthiana offers employee assistance and counseling for those than need it.

Fire Chief Jay Sanders says his firefighters talked after their shift to discuss any issues. They talked again 24 hours later.

"We don't get a lot of training on how to deal with horrific accidents, the stuff you shouldn't see in a lifetime, but we do, and that's why we stand watch," said Sanders.


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