BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Former Survivor: Blood vs. Water contestant and Alabama resident Caleb Bankston was killed June 24 in a work-related accident in Birmingham.
Sources say the 26-year-old locomotive engineer and conductor for Alabama Warrior Railway was working on one of the train cars at a company rail yard in Birmingham when he was crushed to death.
According to TMZ, Mr. Bankston “was checking on something in the small space between two of the cars when the train went off the tracks. Cops say the rear car slammed into the forward car … with Bankston caught helplessly between.”
Mr. Bankston was engaged to marry his partner, Colton Cumbie, a fellow Survivor contestant, in October. According to CNN, he had been employed as a conductor for Alabama Warrior Railway for seven months.
Because Mr. Bankston’s death was the result a workplace accident, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is expected to investigate. The Federal Railroad Administration is also at the scene conducting an investigation alongside local authorities.
According to Birmingham’s WBRC, a spokeman for Alabama Warrior Railway said that a safety stand-down had been ordered at the railway, barring all but non-essential employees from returning to work.
The stand down shut down all but the most essential operations, allowing railway managers to evaluate the situation, the railway said.
“A rep for Watco Companies — which operates the Alabama Warrior Railway where the derailment occurred — says it’s been in contact with Bankston’s family … and has promised to cover all of the burial expenses,” TMZ reported.
OSHA records indicate that parent company Watco has one record of a death on the job at its Kansas City location and one workplace injury, but there are no records indicating regulators blamed the company for those incidents.