Employee’s Body Pulled From Sewage Pipe
By Sara Jerome
The lifeless body of water employee Herminio Padilla Jr.was pulled from a sewage pipe at the East Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility in West Palm Beach on Sunday. His son, Stephen Padilla, explained how his father was found, per WPBF. “(Investigators) saw the grate was missing,” he said, per the report. “They could only conclude the grate sort of became unlatched and went with him in the water and dumped him in there.”
He explained that “divers found his dad’s body in a pipe nearly 18 hours after he plummeted into an open tank of sewage,” the report said.
The son attributed the tragedy to unsafe work conditions. “Something could’ve been and should have been done about it,” he said, per the report.
The city released a statement expressing condolences for the family and explaining its response to safety concerns.
“The mayor has ordered all departments to reinforce safety protocols for all high-risk jobs across the city and we have immediately restricted access to the area, ordered a buddy system and extra precautions for anyone doing similar work and have already brought in an outside safety expert who spent Sunday at the plant as part of what will be a full and comprehensive investigation,” the statement said, per the New York Daily News.
Padilla was reported missing on Saturday. “Plant operators spent hours draining the tank and underground pipes before they could find the body of the 48-year-old man,” WPTV reported.
It remains unclear how Padilla fell, but a city spokesman said it appears to have been an accident, the Daily News reported.