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Inspector Loses Life on MA Water Tank Dive

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

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A water tank inspector was killed during a tank dive in Braintree, MA, Thursday (Dec. 15), when his equipment reportedly failed.

The 47-year old worker, David Scott, was working for Texas-based TK Potable Diving, which was a subcontractor on the Braintree water tank inspection. Local reports indicate that the diver’s 14-year-old son was on the site when his father was killed.

The water was drained from the 1 million-gallon tank, and Scott’s body was reportedly recovered about 16 hours after the incident took place.

Air Supply Cut Off

Scott was performing an inspection of the tank when a piece of his diving equipment failed, cutting off his air supply, according to reports. A spotter jumped in to try to rescue him, but was unable, and the spotter himself had to be rescued and treated for hypothermia.

The water was 45 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of the incident, local news reports indicate. The high temperature in the Boston area on Dec. 15 was 32 degrees, and winds gusted up to 48 miles per hour, according to National Weather Service data.

TK Potable Diving did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday (Dec. 19); according to its website, the Crowley, TX, firm performs cleaning and inspection of potable water tanks only. The firm provides video and photos of tank interiors to supplement its reports on tank integrity.

The inspection was reportedly part of a routine program, performed every five years on the Braintree water tanks. Local news sources report that Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group, of Kentucky, is the contractor on the job, but that the tank inspection was subcontracted to TK.

OSHA Investigating

Officials from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration confirmed Monday (Dec. 19) that its Braintree Area Office is investigating, opening inspections with both TK Potable Diving and Pittsburg Tank and Tower, with the intention of determining whether any safety standards were violated. A spokesperson said it is too early to estimate how long the investigation will take.

The Boston Globe reported that Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan spoke with Scott’s family, offering condolences after the incident. “It’s a very difficult day,” Sullivan said Friday. “As a community, we’re grieving for what happened, and we have the family in our thoughts.”


Tagged categories: Accidents; Health & Safety; Inspection; Inspection equipment; North America; OSHA; potable water; Tanks and vessels

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