Crime - Sacto 911

Man dies after excavator falls into Sacramento River

An excavator operator died Monday afternoon after the tractor he was operating slipped off a barge and fell into the Sacramento River.

Richard Wayne Alexander, 49, of Pittsburg, was identified by the Solano County Sheriff’s office Monday as the victim.

The incident occurred just after 1 p.m. when an excavator operating on a barge in the Three Mile Slough, about three miles south of Rio Vista, fell into the water.

It was reported initially as an industrial accident to the Solano County Sheriff’s office. The U.S. Coast Guard based in Rio Vista and the Drowning Accident Recovery Team based in Sacramento responded.

It took two divers from DART three hours to access the cab of the excavator, which was 15 feet underwater and partially buried in 2-3 feet of silt.

“There was no visibility and the divers were feeling for what they had,’ said Bob Erickson, president of DART.

The recovery was complicated as the cab had fallen sideways into the water. Alexander’s body was recovered at 6 p.m.