Gastonia teen killed after being pulled into wood chipper

by: Ken Lemon Updated:

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KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. —

A teenager, who police said was killed when he was pulled feet first into a wood chipper in Kings Mountain, has been identified.

Emergency crews responded Saturday to Hawthorne Road for the accident.

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The victim has been identified as Mason Cox, 19, from Gastonia.

Channel 9 learned Cox had just started working for Crawford's Tree and Stump Grinding Service, and Saturday was his first day on the job.

Photos of Mason Cox

Investigators said no one witnessed Cox get pulled into the wood chipper.

Jon Crawford, the owner of the business, suffered a heart attack at the scene and had to be rushed to the hospital, police said.

Alice Neal has been haunted by the disturbing thought of her grandson being dragged into the wood chopper.

"How could this happen to such a vibrant, young gentleman?" Neal asked.

Officers determined the incident was accidental, and no foul play was suspected.

Cox was putting tree limbs into the wood chipper when Crawford heard the machine get bogged down. Crawford quickly hit the kill switch and put the machine in reverse, but he could not save Cox from getting pulled into the machine.

Coworkers who saw Cox's body became emotional. They started running around, ripping off their gloves and hats. Neighbors, who did not know what had happened, thought the crew was being attacked by bees.

Cox's family was stunned. They have received constant calls of support since his death.

OSHA is investigating the incident.

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