After a drilling rig collapsed into a hole at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix last week, rescue crews worked for four days before recovering the body of Melvin Wayne Self, 52.
The approximately 150 ton drilling rig collapsed into the hole, trapping the operator and making removal of the machine perilous due to unstable ground. Eventually two 300-ton cranes were used to lift the rig out of the hole and recover the worker.
The project at Sky Harbor Airport is creating an extension to the airport’s Sky Train people mover. The drilling rig was creating holes for a pier that will support the elevated guideway. Hensel Phelps is the general contractor for construction with drilling being performed by subcontractor Case Construction.
"All of us at Hensel Phelps and on the project team at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport are deeply saddened by the death of a team member," according to a statement released by the company’s operations director Bryan Amarel, adding, “Hensel Phelps places the highest value on safety and this incident will be thoroughly investigated to understand exactly what happened.”
The Phoenix Fire Dept. says the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's Office and the Phoenix Police Department will lead the initial stages of the investigation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will also conduct an investigation.
The $700 million project will extend Sky Train beyond the terminals by 2.5 miles to the Rental Car Center. Construction is scheduled to be complete in early 2022.

A GoFundMe page for Self’s family was launched last week, raising nearly $30,000 in about four days.