CLYATTVILLE, Georgia (From news reports) -- Authorities have identified a worker who died in an accident at a woodyard adjacent to a Lowndes County paper mill.
Tyler Seacrest was killed in what Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk described as an "industrial accident." Paulk said Seacrest was in his 20s and his family has been notified.
Seacrest was an employee of Price Fiber Industry, which owns and operates the woodyard which supports the Packaging Corporation of America paper mill, said Kirk Thomas, the mill manager at PCA. Price Industry had purchased Fulghum Fibers, where officials had earlier said Seacrest was employed, Thomas said.
Early reports that the accident had taken place at the PCA plant were incorrect, Thomas said. PCA used to own the woodyard but sold the facility to Price some years ago, he said.
"We are offering our assistance and cooperation to the authorities investigating this accident. Our deepest condolences go out to the loved ones of Tyler Seacrest," a statement from PCA said.
Monday morning, Lowndes County Coroner Austin Fiveash was at the scene. He said his investigation into exactly what happened is still in progress and may take another couple of days.
The trouble apparently began with a jammed conveyor belt, the sheriff said.
"As reported by a witness, Tyler climbed onto a conveyor belt that fed wood into a processor in what we think was an attempt to dislodge material," the coroner said. "At the time this belt was not moving; however, it is designed to turn on and off periodically. Tragically, the belt and processor started up before Tyler could return to a safe position."
When the conveyor belt was started up again, Seacrest was thrown into some industrial equipment and "killed immediately," the sheriff said.
"A nearby witness responded appropriately and activated the emergency shut-off system. However, by the time he was able to stop the equipment, the accident had already occurred," the coroner said.
There will be no autopsy, Fiveash said. The coroner said he had never before had to perform an investigation "of this magnitude."
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death, said Michael D'Auquino, regional spokesman for OSHA. No details from OSHA's investigation will be released until it is completed, he said.
"This tragedy has touched so many. On behalf of all county officials, I extend our deepest sympathy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, family and co-workers. Lowndes County officials and The Price Companies Inc. are doing and will do everything in our power to assist those affected by this tragedy," the coroner said.
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