Man killed on Denver runway
DENVER – A contract worker cleaning aircraft tire marks from a Denver International Airport runway was killed Monday when he was struck by a massive sweeping machine.Authorities said the man, whose name was not released, had apparently bent over to pick something up, and the sweeper operator did not see him, police spokesman John White said.The sweeper has a 20-foot-long cylindrical brush that spins. It can be used to remove both light snow and runway debris. It was operated by an airport employee.The victim was believed to be about 46 years old and worked for Rampart Hydro Services based in Coraopolis, Pa., airport spokesman Chuck Cannon said.Company officials declined comment as the investigation continued. Police and the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating.Herb Gibson, OSHA’s Denver area director, said he couldn’t recall any other runway deaths at the airport, the world’s 10th busiest.The last workplace death at the airport was in January 2005. A United Airlines worker died when chemicals used in a jet engine’s internal extinguisher device exploded in a hangar, Gibson said.Cannon said airport flight operations were not affected by Monday’s accident.The worker’s death comes less than a week after an electrician working at the airfield drove across an open runway without clearance. No aircraft were in the area at the time.There have been two other close calls at the airport this year.In February, a United Airlines’ plane carrying 101 people came within 200 feet of a snowplow while landing. The driver, who no longer works for the airport, drove onto a runway without clearance from air traffic controllers or operators.In January, a Frontier Airlines jet attempting to land came within 50 feet of a smaller charter plane that had inadvertently entered the runway.