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Man dies after being trapped under concrete slabs in SE Austin

(Photos: Austin Fire Department)

Austin-Travis County EMS says a man in his 30s is dead after being trapped under fallen concrete slabs in southeast Austin.

It happened near the intersection of Wickersham and Cromwell Circle, south of E. Riverside Drive.

The Austin Fire Department attempted to free the man using heavy rescue equipment.

APD’s homicide unit and the Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration are both conducting independent investigations.

Construction company Cadence McShane confirmed to CBS Austin the project will be a new apartment complex and parking garage.

But Wednesday, investigators took over for contractors.

“Just to hear it and know someone’s life is gone it’s scary and sad,” said neighbor Jamie Frias.

AFD Division Chief Palmer Buck said investigators are unclear about how the incident happened, but said crews were assembling pre-formed concrete panels for the parking garage of the new apartment complex.

“At some point the crane that was lifting one of the panels," Buck said. "It was a failure of some sort which caused the cascading effect to this person being crushed under the concrete."

APD won’t confirm how the man became trapped. Public Information Officer Destiny Winston said homicide detectives hope interviews with other workers will reveal what happened.

“We have it roped off with tape so we can maintain the integrity of the investigation by protecting evidence and also keeping those individuals who may have seen something or were involved in the area,” Winston said.

Cadence McShane Construction is in charge of the project, but tell CBS Austin the victim in Wednesday’s incident was a subcontractor.

The company issued this statement:

We are deeply saddened by the death of a subcontractor’s worker at the Austin construction site this morning and extend our deepest sympathies to his family and co-workers. Along with other companies working at the site, we are assisting the proper authorities who are investigating this incident.

Department of Labor records show that in the last five years, Cadence McShane has had one inspection violation.

OSHA confirms investigators were on scene Wednesday investigating and it could take up to six months to finish.

Austin Police are asking anyone with information to call the homicide tip line 512-477-3588.

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