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Police ID painter found dead at Sarasota academy


Published:   |   Updated: August 1, 2013 at 12:08 PM

SARASOTA - Detectives identified a painter who died Wednesday after being pinned 20 to 30 feet in the air between a personnel lift and a wall at the Sarasota Military Academy.

Mitch Phelps, 55, of Sarasota, was working on a renovation project at the academy, 801 N. Orange Ave., when he was found unconscious in the bucket of a hyrdraulic lift, police said.

Two other workers found Phelps and were able to lower the bucket and call 911, Sarasota police said.

Paramedics were performing CPR when police arrived. Phelps was unconscious when he was taken to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Representatives from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are looking into the incident to determine whether it was work-related or due to a medical condition.

According to police, Phelps was using the lift to reach elevated areas not accessible by ladder. According to one of the workers who found the man, Phelps was pinned against the structure where he was painting, police said.

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