PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia-area worker fatally crushed by a massive pile of road salt has been identified as a father of two from New Jersey.

In a statement, the family of 51-year-old Gustav Propper of Mount Laurel calls his death “tragic … beyond words.”

Authorities say Propper was operating an end-loader when a 100-foot pile of salt collapsed nearby, smothering him. Bucks County Coroner Joseph Campbell says Propper died from asphyxiation (see related story).

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the fatality, which occurred at a site on the Delaware River in Falls Township.

Propper’s family says he had worked for International Salt, based in Lackawanna County, for about 15 years.

Falls Township police say the accident happened Thursday afternoon, hours before a snowstorm hit the area.

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