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Fatal accident at Santander

GeneralFatal accident at Santander

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Feb. 20, 2024

A workplace accident that occurred in the fields of Santander Sugar Group has claimed the life of Anastacio Vasquez, 53, of Belmopan.

Initial reports indicate that Vasquez was with several coworkers at his place of employment replacing a tire on a steel cage which measured 14 feet by 14 feet, and when Vasquez had gone for a tool and walked beside the cage, it began to lean. Regrettably, Vasquez was unable to move out of the way in time, and the steel cage crushed him, killing him instantly in the process. He was transported to the Western Regional Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

“We’re all left in awe as to how could this could have happened?” said Beverly Burke, Public Relations Officer for Santander. “This is almost a routine thing with the harvest in full swing. There’re constant tire repairs and minor repairs out in the fields because it’s a 24/7 operation. Completely shocked and devastated is what we are faced with here at Santander, and it’s tough,” she said.

“… His son worked with us for [some] years. Two of his daughters worked with us. So, when I say that, the devastation of his passing is hard hit and deeply felt,” Burke added.

Burke mentioned that the company is pushing its safety measures while ensuring mechanical pieces of equipment are fully functioning, but echoed that it was a daily routine for the workers as tires don’t last long in the fields.

“One thing that we simply cannot prevent is tires going out on you. We’re in the fields, the roads are deteriorating in certain areas [and] it’s tough. I mean, the sporadic rains create some holes and some unevenness that goes along with it, (and) we tend to go through tires a lot, so creating an environment where you can quickly repair and carry on. That’s the system that they have here. So, I don’t feel that it had anything to do with malfunctioning of equipment or anything of that nature. They were changing a tire and, unfortunately, it slipped off the jack,” she outlined.

Vasquez was described by Burke as a worker that the other employees look forward to working with, as he is one of the mature staff members and someone who is family-oriented. Burke added that Santander is assisting the surviving members of the Vasquez family to ease the burden on them.

Vasquez was employed with Santander for over eight years as a mechanic and a welder.

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