Contractor who fell cleaning Austin airport grease trap struggled to breathe, later died

Local News

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The man who fell into a grease trap last month at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport died the following day, according to family.

Lonnie Deary, 48, served 23 years in the Army.

He was a contractor for Liquid Environmental Solutions, working with another employee to clean the grease traps at the airport on April 10.

According to a report obtained by KXAN, other employees told responding Terminal Operations employees that Deary had gone down into the grease trap area and had complained of not being able to breathe.

The report says Deary tried to resurface but passed out and fell off the ladder, striking his head. Another employee reportedly tried to retrieve him but was unable to breathe and returned to the surface.

The report says that AFD confirmed the presence of hazardous chemicals and lack of oxygen in the grease trap area.

First responders began performing CPR on Deary, who was then transported to South Austin Medical Hospital. Two other employees exposed to this environment were also transported for evaluation.

Responders noted in the report that the “only personal protective equipment being utilized by the Liquid Environmental Solutions employees were jumpsuits, headlamps, and gloves.”

According to OSHA’s website, it has two open investigations stemming from airport incidents that were opened on April 10 and April 15.

An airport spokesperson deferred questions about Deary’s death to Liquid Environmental Solutions.

KXAN reached out to Liquid Environmental Solutions Friday afternoon.

A company spokesperson sent us a statement that reads in part: 

“Our thoughts are with Mr. Deary’s family and friends at this very difficult time. Given the ongoing OSHA investigation in its early stages, it is not appropriate for me to comment on the incident at this time and I appreciate your understanding of these circumstances.”

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss