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Bridge Worker Hit by Falling Bucket

Thursday, June 6, 2013

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A worker on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge near Baltimore, MD, was seriously injured this week when he was struck in the head by a five-gallon bucket of paint.

Authorities began to receive 911 calls about the accident about 10:45 a.m. Tuesday (June 4). The worker, whose name was not released, had been working on a platform about 15 feet below the road near the bridge's center span.

Rescuers had to immobilize the victim and then raise him in a rescue basket.

Details of the accident conflicted in initial reports.Some said the worker fell several feet; others did not. The investigation was continuing.

Chesapeake Bridge rescue
Neal Matthews / Kent Island Volunteer Fire Dept.

A worker doing painting work on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge is in serious condition after a five-gallon paint bucket struck him on the head.

The man's injuries are considered serious but non-life-threatening. He was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center with head and neck injuries, local CBS affiliate WJZ 13 reported.

The worker is a 51-year-old employee of Baltimore-based Blastech Enterprises, which is doing cleaning and painting work on the bridge.

The company declined to comment Wednesday (June 5).

Technical Rope Rescue

All three U..S. Route 50/301 westbound lanes on the bridge had to be shut down for more than an hour while the man was rescued.

The Maryland Transportation Authority is in the middle of a $20 million project to paint the westbound span of the bridge, which is what the injured man was doing, spokesman Tamory Winfield told the Baltimore Sun.

Initial reports indicated that the paint bucket was being lowered to the worker when the handle broke.

The Anne Arundel County Special Operations Team was called in to help.

"Technical rope rescue is one of the areas of expertise that they have, and they practice on the bridge on a regular basis," said Keith Swindle, Anne Arundel County Fire Division Chief.

Bay Bridge worker hurt
Wikimedia Commons / Benfelps

The Bay Bridge is undergoing a $20 million painting project. Reports said that a handle broke on a five-gallon bucket of paint that was being lowered to a painter.

Heroic Action

Anne Arundel, Queen Anne's County Fire Departments, and the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department were also involved in the rescue.

On its website, KIVFD recognized the heroic action of one of its medics, Ella Lauer, who slid down a beam on the side of the bridge to reach the worker and begin treatment.

Maryland Transportation Authority Police are investigating the accident.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge is a dual-span bridge over the Chesapeake Bay. It originally opened in 1952, and a parallel span was added in 1973. At over four miles long, it connects the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area and Ocean City, MD.


Tagged categories: Accidents; Blastech; Bridges; Contractors; Transportation

Comment from William H. Hansel, (6/6/2013, 12:15 PM)

Bucket cage, bucket net, or bucket sling always. Handles are not designed for lifting or lowering by rope/winches. Preventable accident in my book.

Comment from Chuck Pease, (6/7/2013, 4:50 PM)


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