Missouri City, TX Television Tower Collapse, Dec 1982


Missouri City (AP) -- An 1,800 foot tall television tower toppled as workers were lifting an antenna onto its pinnacle Tuesday, hurling five men to their deaths. Three others on the ground were injured.
The dead had been working on the antenna as it was being lifted atop the tower, said Lt. Roger Boyd of the Fort Bend Sheriff's Department in this suburb southwest of Houston.
Bill Cordell, chief engineer for KIKK, one of the radio stations scheduled to use the tower, said the workers had lifted one antenna atop the tower and were lifting a second when a gin pole being used as part of the lifting mechanism failed, causing the antenna to fall and sever a guy wire.
Andy Hudack, an engineer on the project, recorded the accident on videotape. The only sounds heard on the tape were his anguished,
"Oh, my God" and several seconds of the roaring collapse.
"I heard something snap," he said later. "Then the tower started falling. I just put my gear down rather hastily and got out of the way."
The falling tower crushed a building belonging to independent television station KTXH Channel 29.
Hours after the accident the tower lay in a mass of twisted metal, with cable the size of a man's wrist stretching for hundreds of yards from the wreckage.
The victims "were all killed by multiple injuries ..
They were all in bad shape," said Peace Justice L. F. Eguia. "You've got to remember, they were riding this thing down."
Three Houston men who were working atop another building near the tower were injured when they leaped or were thrown from a second-story roof.
Cordell said the victims were employed by Worldwide Tower Service Inc. of Pitman, N.J.
Killed were:
GENE CROSBY, 24, of North Carolina.
DAVID STEWART, 27, of North Carolina.
DONALD K. OWENS, 21, of Mississippi.
JOHNNIE WILSON, about 26, of South Carolina.
JOHNNIE BRATTEN, 26, of South Carolina, said A. J. Noto, dispatcher for the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Department.
Of the injured, J. L. CHAPMAN, 52, was to undergo surgery for multiple fractures at Hermann Hospital today, while JAMES MYER, 31, was treated for multiple contusions and released and CARL SMITH, 23, was in stable condition with a broken pelvis, hospital spokesmen said.
The tower was operated by the Senior Road Tower Project, a consortium of KTXH-TV and several radio stations.
The mast was in the final stages of construction
and workers had been doing tests and installations on it, officials said.

Galveston Daily News Texas 1982-12-08


oops...I meant 21.-Janie

oops...I meant 21.-Janie

Worldwide Tower Accident in 1982

I remember your brother every day....still.
He is still my best friend and union brother.
As he was called Triple J or JJJ.
I met you once in 1979 in ktown.

Worldwide Tower Accident in 1982

Hi, Janie, I have been researching this accident. My brother, Johnnie Bratten was 27, but from NORTH Carolina, not South Carolina. I feel just as angry about the media's lack of consideration for the families of anyone who is killed or injured in accidents such as this. I hope we can do something to get these men remembered.

Dan the owner of Worldwide

Dan the owner of Worldwide Tower died last year (2013) in NJ, safe and sound on the ground.. unlike what he did to those boys on the tower.

I still think it would be good if someone would consider putting up a webpage to remember them.

a week I can't believe I remember

One week prior to the collapse Myou father convinced my mom despite the disapproval of Robert John Wilson. I remember McDonald's orange juice we delivered to the workers and daddy let me carry the tray. And the ride back to babysitter with the top down. I thank God I have that. But life hasn't been great. Yeah I got a settlement but it doesn't matter to a little girl who loved her daddy. I see him ever time I look at my son. Jonathan. I miss you daddy.

He was listed incorrectly as

He was listed incorrectly as 27 years old in the newspaper article. Thanks for correcting it.

Missouri City Texas TV Tower Collapse

David Sterling Stewart from Kinston NC was only 19 years old. Where did you get 27 years old from. It would be served right to have his right age on this article as we all who knew him know it.