According to a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department, the longshore worker driving a UTR (utility tractor rig) that fell into the water this afternoon at the Port of Los Angeles, has died.
The accident occurred around 3:00 pm at the Evergreen Container Terminal on Terminal Island, according to initial news reports. After the UTR fell into the harbor, rescue divers were deployed to rescue the longshore worker who was believed to be trapped inside the UTR. Approximately 60 feet below the water’s surface, divers recovered the body of the driver who was declared dead at the scene.
There is no information at this time about how or why the UTR went into the water. There are, however safety devices which if present, should have prevented the UTR from going over the edge of the dock. According to news reports, there are several agencies at the scene investigating the cause.
This tragic accident points out just how dangerous longshore work can be. UTR drivers and other longshore workers are covered by the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (LHWCA). Under the Longshore Act, ship owners, marine terminal operators and others can be held liable to longshore workers for injuries caused by dangerous or defective conditions including but not limited to: negligently designed or maintained terminals, overcrowding, trip and fall hazards, and defective or poorly maintained vehicles or other equipment.