A Philadelphia-area worker fatally crushed by a massive pile of road salt has been identified as a father of two from New Jersey.
In a statement, the family of 51-year-old Gustav Propper of Mount Laurel calls his death "tragic ... beyond words."
Authorities say Propper was operating an end-loader when a 100-foot pile of salt collapsed nearby, smothering him. Bucks County Coroner Joseph Campbell says Propper died from asphyxiation.
The salt, which is used to keep roads clear of snow and ice, fell on the man at the International Salt facility at New Ford Mill Road and Bordentown Road in Morrisville, Bucks County, Pa. around 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Falls Township Police told NBC10.
Several emergency crews were dispatched to the scene of the industrial accident and firefighters used shovels to find the man. When they finally reached the machine, the man was already dead, still sitting in his seat, police said.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the fatality, which occurred at a site on the Delaware River in Falls Township.
Propper's family says he had worked for International Salt, based in Lackawanna County, for about 15 years.
Falls Township police say the accident happened Thursday afternoon, hours before a snowstorm hit the area.