Spokane Tribe Casino Construction Accident Leads to Death

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Posted on: March 8, 2023, 02:53h. 

Last updated on: March 8, 2023, 02:53h.

A 27-year-old woman perished Tuesday morning from a construction accident at the Spokane Tribe Casino in Washington State.

The hotel under construction at the Spokane Tribe Casino
The hotel under construction at the Spokane Tribe Casino in Washington State, pictured above. The site was the scene of a construction accident which left one worker dead. (Image: KXLY)

She apparently passed away at the construction site. It appears no one else was injured.

The worker was identified as Ana Vetter. She was described as a journeyman carpenter who worked for a subcontractor at the project.

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).

It didn’t appear to be caused by a building collapse, based on initial news reports.

One local TV station, KREM, reported the worker’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.

There was a reported loud noise before the worker was injured.

“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.

Victim Recently Engaged

Vetter had been working at the construction site for a couple of months, and was recently engaged to her fiance.

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 onsite are at the forefront of our thoughts and prayers,” Javier De La Rosa, Spokane Tribe Casino’s general manager, said in a statement.

Ongoing Expansion

The hotel is scheduled to open later in 2023. In coming years in addition to the hotel, the casino plans to add a convention center, an entertainment center, a cultural center, as well as 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. It is located about 10 miles west of Spokane, Wash.

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