One construction worker died and three others were injured Wednesday when a bridge under construction in northwest Missouri collapsed, officials said.

Workers with Lehman Construction Company (California, Mo.) who had been contracted by Clay County were pouring the decking for the bridge Wednesday afternoon when the collapse occurred at 1:44 p.m., according to Mike Wilson, Clay County’s digital communications coordinator.

The bridge, which was replacing an older bridge, spanned Carroll Creek on NE 148th Street (at Shady Grove Road) in a rural area east of Kearney, about 27 miles (43.45 kilometers) northeast of Kansas City.

The other three workers sustained minor injuries and were able to free themselves from the rubble, Clay County Sheriff's spokeswoman Sarah Boyd said. The injured were taken to an area hospital.

The deceased worker 22-year-old Connor Ernst, was trapped in wet concrete, Boyd said. It took rescue workers nearly an hour to retrieve the body, she added. Ernst worked for Lehman Construction.

Kearney Fire & Rescue
Kearney Fire & Rescue

Further details about what caused the collapse were not immediately available.

County transportation officials said the bridge is one of five closed and two under construction in the county.

Clay county contracted with WSP Engineering to design the bridge and perform inspections.

OSHA will now investigate the fatal construction accident.

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An engineer was reportedly at the construction site Wednesday to perform a safety inspection just prior to the deck being poured.

The bridge reportedly has been out of service since 2016.


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