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Memorial to Cape Industrial Fatalities

In the decades that have followed the first launch from the Cape on 24 July 1950, there have been hundreds of thousands of people who have worked there. Launching rockets is extremely dangerous work for which special care is always taken to ensure the safety of workers and the general public. Nevertheless, there have been fatalities in this dangerous work environment. Astronaut fatalities have been covered in many venues over the years, but this list covers fatalities of those who worked behind the scenes out of the public eye.

As a memorial to the workers who have lost their lives, we present this remembrance.

  • 9 July 1958 - Fred D. Adams, maintenance with Pan Am, died in a fall into an Atlas tower elevator shaft
  • 1 July 1959 - Edward Mann, missile technician, fell from a 12 foot ladder while preparing a Snark missile for flight
  • 28 January 1960 - Morris Carter, laborer, killed by a truck while watering down compacted earth at a Saturn pad
  • 14 June 1960 - Joseph G. Sibole, ordnance technician with Martin Company, killed while conducting a system check on a Titan I when five of nine Sofar Flares ignited in the second stage instrument bay
  • 28 March 1961 - Harbin Davil Revis, assistant crane operator with Leonard Brothers, killed in the Industrial Area when the bucket of the crane hit a live electrical wire
  • 21 May 1961 - Eugene M. Margin, security guard with Pan Am, killed by lightning while directing traffic during Armed Forces Day open house
  • 8 July 1962 - Sgt. H. Smith, 6555th Aerospace Test Group, fatally injured after falling into gantry elevator shaft at Complex 11
  • 23 August 1963 - Airman McCubbin, Ground Electric Engineering & Installation Agency, fatally injured in a fall from an 80 foot antenna tower
  • 13 March 1964 - Vernon Emkey, iron worker, died after falling 38 feet from a Titan III complex structure
  • 14 April 1964 - L. D. Gabel, missile technician with Ball Brothers Research Company, died 18 April 1964 as result of a third stage rocket motor ignition in the Delta Spin Test facility
  • 14 April 1964 - John W. Fassett, spacecraft coordinator with Goddard Space Flight Center, died 5 May 1964 as result of a third stage rocket motor ignition in the Delta Spin Test facility
  • 14 April 1964 - Sidney J. Dagel, missile technician with Ball Brothers Research Company, died 17 April 1964 as result of a third stage rocket motor ignition in the Delta Spin Test facility
  • 27 April 1964 - Phillipe Bengas, died as a result of an explosion aboard range supply ship "Gulf Stream" at Grand Turk while working downrange support on the Apollo program
  • 2 July 1964 - Oscar Simmons, construction worker with American Bridge and Iron Company, died from a fall from the 26th level of the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center
  • 27 October 1964 - William Pemberton, propulsion technician with Martin Company, killed when the forklift he was driving on Complex 19 perimeter road flipped over
  • 4 May 1965 - Marion J. Anderson, truck driver with Glover Brick, killed while walking in the Vehicle Assembly Building high bay towers B & E when a 12 foot wooden form fell 457 feet and struck him
  • 28 April 1965 - Jerry B. Baker, construction worker with McDowell-Wellman Engineering Company, killed near the base of Complex 34 mobile service tower when a 15 foot section of structural pipe fell 188 feet and struck him
  • 5 August 1965 - Albert J. Tribe, construction supervisor with George Fuller Construction Company, killed by lightning at Complex 39B while pouring concrete
  • 16 March 1966 - V. S. Evans, electrician, killed by descending elevator on Complex 37 while working on updating the Saturn 1B facility
  • 28 July 1966 - James O. Dorming, heavy equipment operator with Trans World Airlines, killed during a rainstorm when the earthmoving he was operating rolled over
  • 16 May 1968 - William B. Estes, mechanic with Bendix Corporation, died at Complex 39A when struck by the cap from a 150 psi water supply line. A faulty pressure gauge indicated it was safe to remove the cap.
  • 31 July 1972 - Darrell Ramsey, construction worker, died after falling 52 feet onto the second floor level of Complex 34 service tower
  • 7 May 1981 - Anthony Hill, construction worker, died after falling 100 feet at Complex 39B
  • 10 June 1981 - Scott Maness, firefighter with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, died at Kennedy Space Center after becoming trapped during a firefight
  • 19 March 1981 - John Bjornstadt, Rockwell International, died at Complex 39A after exposure to 100% gaseous nitrogen in aft engine compartment of orbiter Columbia
  • 19 March 1981 - Forrest Cole, Rockwell International quality control, died 1 April 1981 after exposure to 100% gaseous nitrogen in aft engine compartment of orbiter Columbia
  • 19 March 1981 - Nick Mullon, Rockwell International mechanical technician, died at Complex 39A after exposure to 100% gaseous nitrogen in aft engine compartment of orbiter Columbia
  • 10 June 1981 - Beau Sauselein, firefighter with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, died at Kennedy Space Center after being trapped during a firefight
  • 8 June 1985 - Robert E. "Champ" Murphy, BSI, lost foot in a Halon cylinder accident on 2 March 1978 and died on 8 June 1985 as a result of Halon exposure
  • 24 March 1986 - Joseph L. Tyre, construction worker with Cherokee Steel Erectors, died after falling 90 feet while installing a bridge crane in the Cargo Hazardous Servicing Facility
  • 4 April 1988 - Lori Kay Gillan Laubenheimer, lab assistant with Edgerton, Germeshausen & Grier, died after being struck by Kennedy Space Center tour bus
  • 27 July 1989 - Clarence E. Haley, electrical worker with Edgerton, Germeshausen & Grier, died after a fall from a platform in the Vehicle Assembly Building
  • 22 December 1989 - Richard Hobbs, painter with Midway Industrial, died from a fall when his clothing was caught by an elevator at Complex 36B
  • 8 July 2001 - Barton Stanley, construction worker with Precision Fabricating & Cleaning, killed when struck by a pressurized pipe coupling at Complex 37
  • 24 August 2001 - Constantine "Gus" Valantasis, painter with Valant Painting Inc., died after falling 34 feet inside Hangar I
  • 1 October 2001 - Bill Brooks, crane operator with Boeing Company, killed at Complex 37 while performing maintenance on a mobile tower crane
  • 17 March 2005 - Steve Owens, roofer with Space Gateway Support, died after falling from Space Life Sciences Lab roof
  • 14 March 2011 - James E. Vanover, United Space Alliance, died from a fall at Complex 39A while preparing orbiter Endeavour for its final launch