Rock Slide Kills Two Workers

, Posted: Thu, April 25 2013 at 5:45 PM, Updated: Thu, April 25 2013 at 7:23 PM

California Transportation officials say two men are dead and another injured, after what's being called a fatal rock slide.

NBC5's Jennifer Elliott
visited the site of the slide in California and reports:

Tonight, family is mourning the loss of two Caltrans workers who died in a highway work accident, Wednesday, just west of Happy Camp. Workers say it was a rock slide that killed them.

Dirt continues to fall in what's still being termed an active rock slide.
"It hits home pretty close," says
Bob Parry, of Parry's Market in Happy Camp. He is related - by marriage - to 40 year old Joseph "Robert" Jones of Montague. On Wednesday Jones and two other Caltrans workers were performing a rock scaling operation on this mountain. That's when officials say the unthinkable happened: a rock slide -- the mountain crumbling around them.

"The whole community knows who they are," continues Parry. "It's pretty rough on everybody."

Jones was killed, along with 50 year old Shawn Baker of Weed.
The third worker, 50 year old Kevin Skillen, was injured and flown to a Medford hospital where he is in stable condition.

"We still have an active slide it's a little dangerous," says Caltran's worker John Denazio at the site.

Today, Route 96 is closed to one lane. You can still see the line where workers say the men were strapped into the mountain. An orange bag lies approximately 20 ft below. The slide so strong, we're shown how some of the rocks broke through the guard rail, crashing into the Klamath river.e're
"We're all family around here," says Denazio, "these folks are like brothers, it's a tough deal, but we'll make do."

Denazio, who is overseeing the cleanup, believes this is the first time Caltrans has lost two workers in one accident. Parry says they were just trying to fix the road for safer winter travel --that particular mountainous stretch is prone to slides.

"Our prayers are out for them, we're all looking out for them. if they need anything they know where we're at," says Parry.

A memorial for Jones and Baker is currently being organized.

Workers say they should finish clearing the scene this evening.

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