Welding accident kills 1

Posted: Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A 29-year-old Homer man, whose wife is pregnant, died after the bucket of a front-end loader crushed him last week.

Josiah Tholberg was doing some welding work for East Road Services Inc. last Thursday when the equipment rolled on top of him. A co-worker found Tholberg in unstable condition following the accident, and Alaska State Troopers responded to the scene at 2:46 p.m.

"He was hard-face welding a loader bucket. The bucket was detached, and in order to get in a position where he could weld underneath he turned it upside down, and it fell on top of him," said Buck Jones, co-owner of East Road Services Inc. in Homer.

Jones employed Tholberg for about a year.

"He was a really good worker, and we enjoyed having him around," Jones said. "He was always full of energy and was very happy to have a baby on the way." Jones said Tholberg married his wife in December and had taken time off to enjoy some time with family in Oregon.

The bucket that killed Tholberg weighed approximately 3,000 pounds. The work was routine off-season maintenance, prepping equipment for the upcoming summer.

Medics performed CPR while transporting Tholberg to meet the Lifemed helicopter coming to take Tholberg to South Peninsula Hospital. Tholberg was pronounced dead that afternoon.

"He was really looking forward to life," Jones said.

Andrew Waite can be reached at andrew.waite@peninsulaclarion.com

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