Benjamin Cruz's family says he fell ten feet from a catwalk into a cattle pen at the National Beef packing plant in Dodge City suffering critical brain injuries.
"We don't know much about what happened, right now. What we are worried about the most, is the state he is in right now," said Maria Cipriana Cruz Dominguez, Cruz's sister. She and most of the family speak only Spanish, so they can't even read the single sheet of paper they got from the union about her brother's accident.
The family says in the two weeks since the accident they haven't gotten any clear answers on how Cruz was hurt so badly.
"We would like to know the truth," said Cruz Dominguez. "How did this accident happen?"
Benjamin Cruz's family says he's spent the last two weeks since April 21st in a Wichita hospital room with multiple critical brain injuries, broken ribs and bruising.
"Yes, it has been a hard enough time for us," said Cruz Dominguez. "And, well, the truth is this is an accident that one could never imagine could happen. But it was something very painful and continues to be very painful for us."
Cruz's sister says he was hurt while at work at the National Beef packing plant in Dodge City. But she says National Beef has told them nothing about what happened.
They believe Cruz fell from a catwalk above new cattle pens under construction. It's about a ten foot drop. But they question why he would've been there and if the company could've prevented the fall. You can see the accident investigation report here.
The Cruz family says a single page accident report they got from the union is all they know for sure. It says he was told to "open the gates to the cattle pens to get ready for cattle delivery" around 1:10 a.m. A coworker found him an hour later, in a different place. The report says "no part of his job duties would have required him to be in that area."
We asked National Beef what happened. Spokesperson Keith Welty told us, "The employee was not authorized to be in the area where the accident occurred. It was a restricted construction area."
When we asked what warnings were up to keep people out, Welty repeated his earlier statement.
That's not enough for Cruz's family who believe the fall doesn't account for his critical injuries.
"But, the doctors have told us that the accident was too strong, very heavy. And that the injuries he suffered were principally in the brain," said Cruz Dominguez.
The Cruz family says they understand that any investigation takes time and has to go through all the appropriate steps but they believe more could have been done to prevent Benjamin's accident. They want the truth both for their own peace of mind and to make sure no one else gets hurt.
Both the Dodge City police and OSHA are currently investigating the accident.
Factfinder 12 looked into National Beef's safety history. According to OSHA records the packing plant in Dodge City been cited for ten violations in the last ten years. Those violations occurred in 2012, 2008 and 2004. The company had to pay more than $13,000 in fines.
In most cases the violations were classified as "serious" which means there's a possibility someone could've been hurt. All violations were noted during planned inspections as part of a federal safety program.