Construction worker dies in 21-story fall after alleged elevator malfunction

(Sky 3/WBTV)
(Sky 3/WBTV)
(Sky 3/WBTV)
(Sky 3/WBTV)
Courtesy of Matthew Rowell
Courtesy of Matthew Rowell
Courtesy of Matthew Rowell
Courtesy of Matthew Rowell

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A construction worker died when he fell from a building in uptown Charlotte after an alleged elevator malfunction Wednesday afternoon.

It happened at a building located in the 600 block of South Tryon Street.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say a caller told them a male construction worker, later identified as 24-year-old Juventino Mata-Hernandez, fell from a building that was under construction.

Mata-Hernandez fell 21 stories while working on a project, according to the NC Department of Labor.

Hernandez was pronounced dead on scene.

A worker at the site said Hernandez was in a hoist elevator that allegedly malfunctioned.

One of Hernandez's cousins said that he too was on the elevator but got off on a different floor and before his cousin did.

WBTV learned that when Hernandez got to the floor he needed, something happened with elevator.

The 24-year- old construction worker then tried to get off the elevator and get to a safe place on the floor but didn't make it.

Investigators say he fell 21 stories and landed on a platform.

WBTV has also learned that the elevator may have had issues earlier in the week.

Officials with the state department of labor said they cannot divulge details of investigations while they are open.

"The purpose of the investigation is to determine what happened and whether or not any occupational safety and health standards were violated or contributed to the fatality," the NC Department of Labor says. 

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) will conduct a separate investigation.

Fatality inspections typically take up to four months to complete, but the OSH division has up to six months to complete the inspection. ?The department says further details can't be released at this time.

Detectives interviewed witnesses. The medical examiner's office will make the final determination on Hernandez's cause and manner of death.

All eastbound lanes of Stonewall Street were closed temporarily between Church Street and Tryon Street due to the incident. There were delays on the westbound lanes of the street due to on-lookers.

According to the Charlotte Observer, the building where the incident took place is the former site of the Observer building, where Lincoln Harris is developing a 33-story office tower anchored by Bank of America.

The 640-foot-tall building is expected to open in early 2019, though an exact date hasn't been given.

It's the first phase of a development called Legacy Union that's expected to include shops, restaurants, residences, more office space and hotels.

Johno Harris, the president of Lincoln Harris released a statement regarding the accident.

We join our construction partner in offering our deepest sympathies to those affected by the tragic event that occurred Wednesday. We are cooperating with authorities and will defer to them on questions related to the cause of the incident, which remains under investigation at this time.

This is an ongoing, active investigation and anyone with additional information concerning this case is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

Copyright 2018 WBTV. All rights reserved.