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Mechanic killed at site of new San Francisco 49ers stadium

Photo: Jeff Chiu/AP

The $1.2 billion Levi's Stadium will replace Candlestick Park as the home of the San Francisco 49ers.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- An elevator mechanic was killed Tuesday when he was struck by a counterweight while working in a shaft at the San Francisco 49ers' new stadium, state officials said.

Donald White, 63, was found dead shortly before 7 a.m. at the bottom of the shaft, said officials with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

White had worked as an elevator mechanic for more than 40 years and was employed by Schindler Elevator Corp., a subcontractor for the stadium's general contractor, Turner-Devcon.

Robert Rayborn, co-director of the stadium project for Turner-Devcon, said he met with White's family and construction will be stopped until Thursday on the $1.3 billion Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

Rayborn said workers have not been rushing or logging overtime on the stadium that is about 40 percent finished and slightly ahead of schedule.

"There nothing to indicate it was anything more than a normal work day ... and a terrible accident," Rayborn told the San Jose Mercury News.

In 2011, Schindler Elevator was fined $18,000 after an apprentice mechanic fell about 20 feet down a shaft in Palo Alto. The worker's broken bones could have been prevented with protective equipment, according to a Cal-OSHA report.

The company said in a statement Tuesday it is committed to the safety of its equipment, its workers and the riding public.

In a statement, the 49ers said the team was deeply saddened by the death of White.

Santa Clara spokesman Dan Beerman said the city was devastated by the death.

"There's been 1,000 workers a day working at that site for almost a year now, and it's been amazingly safe," Beerman told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Construction began in April 2012 on the stadium where the team plans to move for the 2014 season.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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