A TEENAGER was “swallowed up” after falling to his death at a power plant while watching the sunset with his friends.
Anthony Clawson, 18, and three of his friends were hanging out at the Market Street Power Plant on Friday evening when their trip ended in tragedy.
As the teens were coming back down from the roof of the building when a platform broke, causing Clawson to fall five stories.
The teen was a recent graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School and was preparing to attend Louisiana State University to study chemistry.
Clawson died on Saturday at University Medical Center from blunt-force trauma, according to the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office.
“You don’t think ‘My child is going to plunge to his death in an industrial building,’ when he is poised in every way for a great life,” said Clawson’s mother, Valerie Walker.
Paramedics and a fire department rescue team arrived at the scene a little after 9pm on Friday and got to the teen by breaking through panels that were securing the building.
They arrived at the hospital about 36 minutes later, said New Orleans Emergency Medical Services spokesperson, Janick Lewis.
A spokesperson for the plant said Clawson’s death was a tragic accident but added that the area was secured.
“The ground floor is sealed with metal panels designed to prevent illegal access to vacant buildings,” said Peter Aamodt, an independent property consultant representing the owners.
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“There is security fencing along the perimeter, added lighting to the site and posted ’No Trespassing’ signs.”
Aamodt added that there is a “local, independent security company that monitors the site regularly,” but would not say if there was security present on the night Clawson fell.
“We are currently investigating how the group that was there Friday night accessed the secured property,” said Aamodt.
“We will cooperate fully with all involved to determine what occurred. We offer our condolences to the families involved.”
The four teens were leaving the building just before 9pm when they noticed a someone shining a flashlight at them from below, said Walker.
Clawson was in front, leading the group and testing the floor as they made their way down to the entrance of the building.
That’s when he stepped on a platform and fell to the base of the building.
“I saw him get swallowed up from the ground in front of me,” said Noah Cieutat, Clawson’s friend who was present at the time.
“I couldn’t move for what felt like a minute.”
The teens raced downstairs and called 911.
According to Cieutat, the trip to the power plant was supposed the group’s last hurrah before they all went to college.
“One last big memory,” said Cieutat.
Clawson’s mother said her son had received a full-tuition scholarship to LSU.
“I always said I wanted a son who was well mannered and well rounded out in his education, and that’s exactly what I got,” she said.
“He would have become something. He had a lot to give this world, and that’s what he wanted to do.”
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