UPDATE: 3 p.m.
JACKSONVILLE — Cherokee County officials have released the names of the men who were killed when a retaining wall fell on them today at Lake Jacksonville.
Cherokee County Sheriff James Campbell said a construction crew had come in to dig on the side of the retaining wall that was exposed and were going to put steel up to reinforce it.
“It has no steel in it, and they were sitting in the shade resting for a minute and about a 30-foot section of the wall fell on top of them. It killed them instantly,” he said. The wall, estimated to be about 40 or 50 years old, is about 12 to 15 feet tall and 1 foot thick.
Campbell said it took about three hours to recover the bodies, and most of the digging had to be done by shovel. Construction workers and civilians, along with personnel from the Earle’s Chapel and Jacksonville fire departments, were at the scene.
Campbell said he’s seen ditches cave in but has not had a wall collapse like this before.
When the workers dug out below the wall to put the steel in, it must have weakened it, he said. At the time, people were working on the wall and a nearby pier. Campbell said the property owner is out of town.
“This is a very very unfortunate accident,” Campbell said. “They came out here to put a day’s work in and got killed.”