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US man crushed to death by mother-in-law's headstone while decorating grave

A 74-year-old US man died in a cemetery on Monday (March 30) after the headstone at his mother-in-law's grave fell on him.

The elderly man and his wife were decorating the grave in preparation for Easter on Sunday (April 5).

This yearly tradition of theirs involved tying a cross to the grave before saying their prayers.

But tragedy struck as they were attempting to secure the cross with string.

'Help me'

Police said Mr Stephen Woytack was kneeling beside his mother-in-law’s headstone with his wife on the other side when the stone fell on him, reported WNEP news station.

The incident happened just before 10.30am at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Lackawanna County in the state of Pennsylvania, reported NY Daily News.

The cemetery’s caretaker Ed Kubilus told the news station that Mrs Lucy Woytack​ came running to him, shouting: "Help me, the stone fell on Stephen!"

The couple had been married for 46 years.

To be buried near where he died

Citizens Voice reported that Mr Kubilus tried to lift the granite block, which weighs between 136kg and 181kg, but was unable to.

With the help of a police officer, he was later able to, but by then, it was too late, reported NY Daily News.

Mr Kubilus said headstones sometimes slip when the bases tilt due to the thawing of the ground in spring, reported WNEP news station.

Mr Woytack will be buried in the cemetery in which he died. His burial plot is in front of the headstone that killed him.

 

 

Sources: WNEP, NY Daily News, Citizens Voice

 

 

united statescemeteryTragedyUncategorised