A port worker drowned Saturday night while trapped inside a sedan that rolled off a tow truck and into the Patapsco River as it was being moved onto a ship, police officials said.
The victim, identified only as John Jordan, 23, was in the driver's seat of the late-model Geo Prism to maneuver it onto a HUAL North America cargo ship docked at the port of Baltimore when a winch that kept it on the tow truck came unhooked between 9:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., according to a preliminary police report.
The tow truck was en route to the ship, and the Geo it was carrying was facing the water, which was about 50 feet away when the car started rolling toward the sea wall. City police marine divers made an unsuccessful attempt to rescue Jordan from the 30-foot-deep water.
It took several hours before the car was raised, with Jordan dead inside.
Police said the death appeared to be a workplace accident that would be investigated by the Maryland Occupational Safety and Health agency and the companies involved.
Jordan was an employee of Ceres Marine Terminals Inc., the Baltimore branch of an international stevedoring firm that handles cargo ships that routinely dock at the port.
Calling the incident "an unfortunate accident," a Ceres employee who answered the phone at the company's Dundalk office said that it had no more information to release on the matter.
Jordan was working on a lot on Childs Street leased by Amports Atlantic Terminal, the port's largest automobile handler, and the pier is owned by the Maryland Port Administration, said Jack Cahalan of the state Department of Transportation.
"During the movement of the car, the car left its intended path and went into the water," Cahalan said.