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Worker dies after Calif. railroad bridge collapses

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) -- A construction worker died from a fall Sunday after a railroad bridge he was cutting collapsed and pulled him down to a freeway, authorities said.

Okesene Faasalele, 59, of Long Beach was attached to the bridge over state Route 91 by a harness and cutting part of the structure in half when it buckled, California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Terri Kasinga said.

“He rode the bridge down,” Kasinga told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “Before it hit the ground, it twisted and catapulted him into the pavement.”

The worker was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The accident closed freeway lanes for hours on Sunday.

The Pachappa Railroad Overcrossing was being demolished as part of a $232 million freeway-widening project.

The transportation department, the California Highway Patrol and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health were investigation the cause of the accident.

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Information from: The Press-Enterprise, http://www.pe.com

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