From FayObserver.com, “Deuce Niven, 6 Aug 2011.
[Tabor City, NC] – A migrant worker attempting to clear tobacco clogging a mechanical harvester was accidentally pulled in and killed early Thursday, Columbus County Coroner Linwood Cartrette said Friday.
Buenaventura Cortez Martinez, 43, a citizen of El Salvador, died in the machine around 7 a.m. The incident occurred off N.C. 904, west of Tabor City, Cartrette said.
Martinez was one of three men operating three tobacco harvesters on the farm of brothers Patrick and Mark Lovett, Cartrette said. He had stopped the harvester but had not shut down its engine when tobacco clogged a mechanism.
According to a report by the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, Mark Lovett said Martinez reached his hand into the machine, and it got caught, pulling him in.
Mark Lovett and a helper, Scott Strickland, pulled Martinez from the machinery, report said.
The N.C. Department of Labor is investigating, which is standard procedure in a workplace death, department spokeswoman Dolores Quesenberry said Friday.
Preliminary findings indicate clothing worn by Martinez got caught in the machinery, Quesenberry said. Death investigations by the department typically take three to four months, she said.