Worker identified in Chilliwack workplace death

24-year-old Sebastian Gomez killed when machinery failed at construction site in Garrison area

Sebastian Gomez as pictured at a sporting event. Gomez has been identified by friends and co-workers as the person killed in a workplace accident in Chilliwack on March 11

RCMP were on the scene at a construction site in Garrison Friday, following a workplace incident that led to one man’s death.

The worker who died was Sebastian Gomez Obando, age 24 from Surrey. Friends identified Gomez on Monday with an online fundraising drive, and the BC Coroner confirmed the death on Tuesday.

“With profound sadness, we all try to cope with the fact that at the age of 24 years old, there was a man that was taken away from his family, friends, and coworkers. His name was Sebastian Gomez,” a friend wrote on the popular fundraising site, GoFundMe.

The creator of the fundraiser has set a goal of $50,000 to help ease the burden of Gomez’s wife and children — a two-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl.

“He will forever be in the hearts of many; but his wife, son, daughter, mother and father, and other family members’ lives will be forever changed. They need our support; but not just today, this week or this month. They need it for their future. For those of you who personally know this wonderful man / family, we need to remember not just now, but months and years from now that this family needs constant support,” the page says.

WorkSafe BC and the RCMP are investigating the incident that took place about 8 a.m. on Friday, March 11. A WorkSafe representative said that day that the organization will be working in two capacities following the incident.

“WorkSafe BC officers are at the work site to begin an investigation. Also WorkSafe BC critical incident support staff will be working with the families and co-workers in these tragic circumstances,” Trish Knight Chernecki said. “Our information is very very preliminary at this point. We can confirm that WorkSafe BC responded to an incident at approximately 8:30 a.m. Three workers were injured, one fatally, when a concrete pumping truck fell forward at a residential construction site in Chilliwack.”

The BC Coroners Service said Gomez and a second worker were struck by a concrete boom at the worksite. Gomez died on scene.

The fundraising site notes that Gomez’s parents had just left their jobs in Alberta two weeks ago to move to B.C. to be closer to their son and his family. They also brought along Gomez’s youngest brother, who is just 16. The two brothers had a chance to get in a driving lesson in the two weeks since the family relocated here, the GoFundMe account notes. Gomez’s parents have not found employment since their move.

On Tuesday morning, more than $12,000 had already been raised for the grieving family, who have asked for privacy at this difficult time.

One of the other men is reported to be in hospital still, and was airlifted to hospital after being freed. The equipment was removed from the worksite over the weekend, and construction continued at nearby worksites.

This week at the worksite, adjacent to the Cheam Leisure Centre, the only reminder of the incident was a single bouquet of white carnations tied to the security fence.

To donate offline, visit any Coast Capital location and donate to the Mariana Valencia Trust Account.

 

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