Warm spring weather thawing the frozen ground made the earth under the headstone less stable, causing it to fall on 74-year-old Stephen Woytack, the Scranton Times-Tribune reported.
The accident happened in Lackawanna County in northeast Pennsylvania. The granite headstone weighed 300-400 pounds (140 to 180 kilos).
The paper said Woytack and his wife Lucy visited St. Joseph’s Cemetery many times over the years.
This time Woytack was fixing a religious ornament to the headstone when it fell and pinned him underneath.
After the stone fell, the wife found cemetery caretaker Ed Kubilus on the other side of the grounds. He called police and rushed to the grave but could not lift the tombstone, the paper said.
“It’s just a freak thing that happened,” Kubilus said, according to the paper. “It’s heartbreaking.”
“It happened so quickly,” Lucy Woytack said of the accident.
The Woytacks had been married for 46 years. -AFP