Investigation: Bolts came loose in fatal Avista boom accident - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Investigation: Bolts came loose in fatal Avista boom accident

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OTHELLO, Wash. - An inspection found that six of 20 bolts were missing from the utility truck boom that collapsed in a fatal accident at an Othello elementary school last week.  The accident killed a worker for Avista and injured a teacher.

Avista and the Department of Labor are now trying to figure out how the bolts came loose.

Avista spokeswoman Jessie Wuerst says the company previously inspected the equipment just once a year, but daily inspections will continue until investigators find the cause of the boom failure that killed an Avista worker and injured a fifth-grade teacher.

Killed was 50-year-old Othello line foreman Robert "Bob" D. Smith. He was helping in Hiawatha Elementary Schools annual egg drop when the trucks extended boom separated from its base and the bucket crashed to the ground.

Fifth-grade teacher Melissa Martinez was in the bucket with Smith and was injured.

The Washington Department of Labor and Industries is conducting its own investigation of the accident. Labor and Industries spokeswoman Elaine Fischer says the agency is particularly interested because the accident is unprecedented.
     
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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