Jan/17 School flagpole topples, kills San Benito girl - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Jan/17 School flagpole topples, kills San Benito girl

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Posted: Tuesday, January 17, 1995 12:00 am

By FERNANDO DEL VALLE

Valley Morning Star

SAN BENITO -- A 12-year-old girl died Monday about two hours after a 37-foot

flagpole crashed down on her head outside her middle school.

Yvette Salinas, a seventh-grader at Berta Cabaza Middle School, was pronounced

dead at Valley Baptist Medical Center at 2:07 p.m. of "very severe head

injuries," hospital spokesman Mike Swartz said.

A 13-year-old classmate identified as Ramon Resendez was taken to the

hospital's emergency room after shrapnel, rust or paint hit his eye, district

officials said.

It was the district's worst accident in more than three years, risk manager

Bill Ashcraft said.

High winds broke the flagpole just after noon as students recessed for lunch.

#`A terrible tragedy -- one of the unavoidable things nature brings to us.'

-- David Garza,>

school board president>

#Superintendent Felipe Alanis called it "a freak accident."

"It could have happened anytime, and it happened during lunch," Alanis said

Monday, on his first day on the job.

Salinas was described as being semiconscious as paramedics worked to rush her

to the hospital, Ashcraft said.

He said the flagpole may have been rusty.

School board President David Garza called it "a terrible tragedy -- one of

the unavoidable things nature brings to us."

"I feel very saddened for the parents of the child," he said. "My child

goes to the school. It could have been my child standing in front of that

flagpole."

A shaken school Principal Roger Barras referred questions to Alanis.

To help students deal with the tragedy, counseling will be made available,

Ashcraft said.

District maintenance workers will inspect other district flagpoles, Alanis

said.

He said it was believed Resendez suffered minor injuries.

Hospital officials had no record of the patient, hospital spokesman Mike

Swartz said.

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