A Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority employee fell down 30 feet into a concrete shaft below the tracks at the Charles/MGH Red Line Station in Boston early this morning. Identified as Edward Rowe, 46, of Haverhill, the employee has worked for MBTA since he was 18 years old.
According to officials, the accident happened around 4:30 a.m. this morning. Rowe, an electrician for MBTA, was shutting off the power to a Red Line rail at the station. He was walking on a plank of plywood that was being used to cover up the deep shaft and subsequently fell through the hole as the plywood gave way. Rowe was stuck for hours before Boston firefighters were able to lift him to the surface around 8 a.m.
A fire department spokesperson, Steve MacDonald, said that, “The only way to get him out was to hoist him straight up…It’s very tough, confined conditions.” Firefighters ended up rigging a pulley system and lowered a firefighter down to where Rowe was trapped so that he could evaluate Rowe and attach him to a safety harness in order to pull him out. After having to adjust the safety harness so that Rowe was not in too much pain, firefighters eventually were able to safely pull him out.
Rowe is now in critical condition at Massachusetts General Hospital where he is reported to have two broken legs. After this early-morning workplace accident, the MBTA General Manager, Richard A. Davey, requested that all plywood used as shaft covers be removed and replaced with metal shaft covers.
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Boston firefighters save MBTA worker who fell 30 feet , Boston Globe, March 30, 2011
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