Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Longshoreman Killed When Truck Plunges Into Bay

Operations were temporarily shut down at the Port of Oakland on May 17 after a truck being driven by a longshore worker was apparently knocked into the water by a piece of machinery.

Longshoreman Manuel Stimpson, 78, of San Francisco had worked at the port for about 47 years when he was killed after the truck plunged into the San Francisco Bay.

“He’s a very loved man, he’s like a father to all of us,” Frank Gaskin, a business agent with International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 said of Stimpson following the accident.

According to ILWU representatives, Stimpson was working as a clerk and helping direct the placement of containers when the truck went into the water near Berth 30 at the TraPac terminal at 1:36 pm.

The vehicle became stuck in the mud about 50 feet below surface and it wasn’t until about 2:40 pm that port divers were able to pull his body from the truck, according to police. The submerged truck was also recovered.

As is traditional in incidents that result in fatalities, the ILWU suspended work at the port for 24 hours following the accident.

The occurrence is under investigation by the union and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, the state governmental body commonly known as Cal/OSHA.

Last week’s death was the second fatal accident at the port in seven months. In October 2012, a mechanic performing maintenance on a crane died Oct. 24 after being caught in and crushed by a piece of heavy equipment. Prior to that, however, there hadn’t been an incident at the port resulting in a fatality in at least five years, according to Cal/OSHA.