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Construction Worker Plunges From Throgs Neck Bridge

By Patrick Hedlund | March 30, 2012 10:06am | Updated on March 30, 2012 6:47pm
A helicopter hovers near the Throgs Neck Bridge, where a construction fell on Fri., March 30, 2012.
A helicopter hovers near the Throgs Neck Bridge, where a construction fell on Fri., March 30, 2012.
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DNAinfo/Theodore Parisienne

BRONX — Emergency crews were searching for a construction worker who fell from the Throgs Neck Bridge Friday morning, authorities said.

The 35-year-old was working midpsan on a platform below the bridge's roadway when he slipped and plummeted into the Long Island Sound shortly after 8 a.m., officials said.

Boats and helicopters from the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as FDNY and NYPD Harbor units, spent hours searching for the man Friday morning and afternoon, officials said. The MTA called the search a "recovery mission" in a statement and gave its condolences to the unidentified worker's family and friends. 

"The Coast Guard continues its search efforts and will evaluate these efforts for survivability," Lt. Jason Moritz, a Coast Guard command duty officer from Sector New York, said in a statement Friday evening.

It was not immediately clear if the man was secured to the bridge at the time, but authorities said he may have been adjusting his safety harness at the time of the fall.

The worker was employed by subcontractor Nuco Painting Corp. of Long Island, which declined to comment on the situation.

Queens-based contractor El Sol, which also declined to comment, was working on the first phase of the bridge's two-year, $25 million renovation project that included rehabilitation of the work platform, the MTA said.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the worker may have been preparing to paint the bridge.

"We have information he may have been adjusting the safety harness or changing the safety harness when he fell," he said at an unrelated press conference. "He was spotted in the water. He has not been recovered. The search continues." 

The MTA Bridges and Tunnels division requires safety harnesses for all workers doing this type of work, the agency said.

The MTA, NYPD, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and Office of Emergency Management were investigating. 

The man was reportedly not wearing a lifejacket when he fell from the bridge, according to Coast Guard officials, who recommend people working near dangerous waters wear lifejacket.