An unidentified woman was crushed in a drawbridge accident in Boston on New Year’s Eve.
The drawbridge operator raised the Meridian Street Bridge while the woman was walking on it. The operator was apparently unable to see that the woman was clinging to one of the bridge plates, dangling over the water.
When the operator heard screaming, he lowered the bridge, crushing her between the two plates. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Boston Police Superintendent in Chief told the Boston Herald that the woman "was in an area where pedestrians should not be when the bridge is raised.”
It is unclear when the safety gates were down when the woman entered the bridge and if the victim ignored warning lights and alarms.
Divers for the fire department searched for 2.5 hours in the frigid water to recover the victim’s body, said Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Finn.
Officials and area residents were mystified by the horrible accident.
“I walk over it every day. If you try to cross while they’re trying to operate the bridge, the guy will lay on the air horn like crazy,” said Bill Montanino told The Boston Herald.
The bridge over the Chelsea River connects East Boston and Chelsea. Montanino said operators “go out of their way” to make sure the bridge is safe, especially during the winter.
Police said the operator was distraught and taken to a local hospital. The operator has been placed on unpaid leave during a police investigation and hearing before the Labor Relations Board.
The incident is also being investigated by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.