Dad ‘split in half’ after falling to grisly death in 1,500C vat of molten iron

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A 39-year-old worker tragically died after falling into a vat of molten iron which was almost 1,500C.

Steven Dierkes was working at the Caterpillar Mapleton Foundry in Illinois, US, when the accident occurred.

Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said that no foul play is suspected, according to the Peoria Journal Star.

The dad-of-three died instantly after the fall into 2,600F (1,427C) iron, with half his body left lying on the factory floor.

Caterpillar spokeswoman Lisa Miller told The Sun: "We are deeply saddened by the death of an employee who was involved in a serious incident at our Mapleton, Illinois, facility on June 2.

"Our thoughts are with this employee’s family, friends and colleagues.

"The safety of our employees, contractors and visitors is our top priority."

Peoria County Sheriff's Office Capt Chris Watkins said that deputies were called to the scene at around 10am on Thursday (June 2) to respond to an "occupational accident".

Peoria County Coroner's office, the Sheriff's Office and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are still investigating the tragedy.

According to an anonymous veteran Caterpillar worker speaking to the World Socialist Web Site, Dierkes "was taking a sample of iron for the met lab and apparently just tripped".

They said: "He died instantly, but not all of him went in. Part of his body remained on the deck for the coroner to retrieve.

"It must have been ghastly for those folks that witnessed it and to wait for the coroner with half of their co-worker lying on the floor."

They claimed the incident occurred on a larger melter in the main foundry melting area, adding that by 10.20am all employees had been sent home.

The World Socialist Web Site also reports that another worker took to social media to claim that Dierkes had "only been there for five days" and didn't have "sufficient training".

An obituary for Dierkes remembers him as "a hard-working teddy bear of a man with calloused hands and a tender heart" who "would have done anything for anyone".

He leaves behind three daughters and partner Jessica Sutter.

This comes just six months after another worker, 50-year-old Scott M Adam, died after falling at the same factory.

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