OLIVE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Authorities in Ottawa County Monday continued their investigation after a Grand Rapids man was killed in an industrial accident over the weekend.
The incident happened just before 2 a.m. Saturday at the Hillshire Brands plant located on 96th Avenue in Olive Township, north of Borculo.
Officials said Ricardo Ramos-Bermudez, a long-time employee at the plant, was trying to clean a conveyor belt when his clothing got entangled in the equipment.
“Unfortunately that clothing became so entangled that it actually strangled him and he lost his life from strangulation there,” said Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Mark Bennett.
Cleaning that machine was not Ramos-Bermudez’s primary assignment, but officials said he did it often.
“We are told that Mr. Ramos worked until about 11 a.m. usually in a different part of the plant. And then after that hour, he would assist with a clean-up crew in another area of the plant. He was familiar with the processes there that he was undertaking at the time,” said Bennett.
Romos-Bermudez’s wife Dominga Lucas told 24 Hour News 8 that her family is distraught about what happened.
The family set up a memorial inside of their home with photos of Ramos-Bermudez. The 48-year-old was father to three young girls and had been with Lucas for 15 years.
Monday, the family had not yet made funeral arrangements, saying they were waiting to learn more information about what happened Saturday morning.
An autopsy was conducted Monday morning, concluding the cause of death was accidental asphyxiation. Officials said the body would be released to a funeral home of the family’s choice.
Hillshire Brands said they could not comment specifically about Ramos-Bermudez, but released this statement:
“We are deeply saddened by this loss at our Zeeland, Michigan, plant. We are currently conducting a thorough investigation and are working with the local authorities.”
The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said it has opened an investigation at Hillshire Brands Company, which could take several months to complete.
The company shows no history of complaints or violations with the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA).