EDINBURG — Authorities identified a worker killed in an Edinburg corn silo Thursday as 21-year-old Oscar Arellano of Pharr.
Edinburg police spokesman Lt. Oscar Treviño said the department is conducting a questionable death investigation. The case is being worked in conjunction with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, he said.
Arellano slid 15 feet below the surface of an Azteca Milling silo that contained corn refuse before firefighters responded 11:38 a.m. Thursday. They had to drain the massive container before they could free Arellano, who was found dead.
A preliminary autopsy reports shows Arellano died from asphyxiation, Treviño said.
Azteca Milling processes corn flour for Maseca, the popular instant corn flour used to make tortillas. The company released a statement on the death Friday:
“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family during this most difficult time. We are continuing to work with local, state and federal investigators to determine the exact cause of this tragic accident.”
The mill, at 501 W. Chapin Road, did not have a confined-spaces permit that would have allowed a worker to perform tasks inside the silo, Edinburg Fire Chief Shawn Snider said Thursday.