O'Hare Shipping Worker Fatally Crushed

A 38-year-old shipping company employee was fatally crushed late Tuesday night on a loading ramp at O'Hare International Airport after becoming pinned between a truck and a shipping container, officials said.

John F. Keane, a supervisor for DHL, was standing near a ramp on the airfield about 10 p.m. Tuesday when a tractor-trailer backed into him, pushing him up against a metal industrial shipping container, said Wendy Abrams, spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Aviation.

Paramedics rushed Keane, of the 3300 block of North Ottawa Avenue, to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. He was pronounced dead there at 11:10 p.m., a Cook County medical examiner's office spokesman said.

The driver of the truck, an unidentified DHL employee, was cited for failing to use a guide person during backup, Abrams said. The ordinance violation was issued by the Department of Aviation and will result in an administrative hearing before a city officer, according to Abrams.

Three employees, in addition to the truck's driver, witnessed the incident, Abrams said.

Keane had been employed with DHL, formerly Airborne Express, for 11 years, company spokesman Richard Gibbs said. He had worked his way up to his current role of ramp supervisor, a management position.

Keane was a father of two children, and his wife was pregnant with a third, neighbors said. The family had moved into their two-story Northwest Side home within the last year.

Family members declined comment Wednesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration regional office was notified of the incident, but an official there said the accident would be investigated by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

An OSHA investigator was sent to the airport Wednesday, said Elia Zabaneh, OSHA assistant area director.

The last fatality to occur at the airport was in July 2004, when a 29-year-old American Airlines employee was killed in a collision with two luggage carts. The man suffered massive head trauma after being thrown from a luggage tug.

In 1991, a Department of Aviation security officer was killed in a car accident at the airport, Abrams said.



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