One sailor dies in accident at Locust Point

Second is brain-dead after crane topples

July 30, 2000|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

One crew member of a freighter from the Philippines was killed and another is brain-dead after a crane toppled near their ship in Locust Point yesterday, Coast Guard officials said.

Police did not release the identities of the men pending notification of family in the Philippines. Coast Guard officials say the man injured is clinically dead but was being kept alive by life-support machines at Maryland Shock Trauma Center. A third member of the crew, the crane operator, was treated for minor injuries and released. The three were working aboard a ship that was delivering cargo to the Domino Sugar plant.

The man who was killed and the one on life support, whose ages were not released, were riding in a basket attached to a crane when the crane collapsed, crushing the men about 9 a.m., said Lt. Cmdr. Gary Bracken, chief of the Operation and Response Division for the Coast Guard.

"We think maybe a cable or something snapped that attached the crane to the ship," Bracken said.

The ship and crew will be detained at the port until the investigation is complete, he said.

Baltimore police described the incident as an industrial accident and said they do not believe foul play was involved. Bracken said cranes on foreign vessels are usually not subject to Coast Guard inspection.

"It will be a few days before an investigation can determine if safety regulations were being followed," Bracken said. "We normally inspect safety equipment like firefighting equipment or structures, but not cranes."

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an average of 71 people are killed in crane accidents in the United States each year.

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