Fleeing wild horse crushed worker

The horse wrangler who died on the job was crushed by a feral horse attempting to escape. The Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board released its preliminary findings into Arnold Johnson's death yesterday.

The horse wrangler who died on the job was crushed by a feral horse attempting to escape.

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board released its preliminary findings into Arnold Johnson’s death yesterday.

Johnson, 57, died near Kusawa Lake in January when he sustained a fatal head injury.

On January 26, the Burwash man was part of a team hired by the government to round up wild horses.

Three workers were herding half a dozen feral horses into a makeshift chute with five-foot-high fencing.

According to the report, metal fencing panels were staked to the ground within a wooden corral.

The chute was being used to guide the animals into a horse trailer to be taken off the property.

“At approximately 10:30 a.m., two of the workers were attempting to close the chute by pivoting one of the metal panels across the entrance while the other attempted to keep the animals from escaping,” the report says.

“One horse escaped the chute by slipping through a gap as one of the metal fence panels was being dragged into position.

“A second horse, following the first, tried to leap the dragged panel, which broke upon impact entangling the horse. The broken panel knocked the victim to the ground and the horse rolled on top of him before getting up.”

The injuries were “not survivable,” the report says. Johnson died the next day at Whitehorse General Hospital.

According to the board, the direct cause of the accident was “that the metal fence panels in the chute were not capable of withstanding the force applied against them and one failed when the wild horse attempted to jump it.”

Safety board spokesperson Richard Mostyn said the preliminary report is just a first step. A complete investigation could take more than a year.

“These preliminary findings are basically released to inform the public of the direct cause of the recent fatality,” he said.

“We really want other Yukoners who are corralling livestock or doing similar activities to examine their equipment and procedures so that other people aren’t injured or killed.”

In the report the safety board reminds all employers that they are required to provide staff with safe work procedures.

Mostyn said his office is nowhere near being able to say whether or not any charges or other sanctions could come from this case.

Ron Billingham, spokesperson for the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, said no one from the department would be commenting until the full report is completed.

He said the contract to move the horses was awarded to Dan Sabo, a man with extensive previous experience.

“He was subcontractor to the previous livestock control officer. He’s been doing this contract for the Yukon government for the last couple of years.”

Billingham said the department is co-operating with the health and safety board’s investigation.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports of youth being extorted online. (Black Press file)
Yukon youth being extorted online

Yukon youth being extorted online Yukon RCMP say they’ve received three reports… Continue reading

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. Politicians return for the spring sitting of the assembly March 4. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Analysis: What to expect in spring sitting of the legislature

They’re back on March 4, but election speculation is looming large

d
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for March 3, 2021.

Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce executive director Susan Guatto and program manager Andrei Samson outside the chamber office in downtown Whitehorse Feb. 23. (Stephanie Waddell, Yukon News)
When business models shift

Whitehorse chamber offers digital marketing workshop

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read