A diver working on the construction of a natural gas pipeline 12 miles offshore died after an underwater mishap on Saturday morning.
The 42-year-old man was working 62 feet under the surface when he reported over his radio around 9 a.m. that he was having trouble breathing. He was taken to the Addison Gilbert Hospital but was pronounced dead a couple of hours later.
The diver was part of a project to build a $6 million liquefied natural gas terminal named Neptune. He was living and working on the construction barge Lone Star Horizon.
He was an employee of Buffalo Industrial Diving Co., a subcontractor on the project, according to Carol Churchill, spokesman for Suez Energy North America, the company building the LNG terminal. She said she was saddened by the diver's death.
"Certainly our hearts go out to the diver's family," she said.
Workers on the barge lost contact with the man soon after receiving the report that he was in distress, according to a Gloucester police report. Two emergency divers were sent down to find him, pulling him to the surface.
Paramedics standing by on the construction barge began to perform CPR on the man, who was unconscious when he was pulled from the water, the police report states.
Coast Guard Station Gloucester received the call for help from the Lone Star at 9:45 a.m., said Lt. Seth Andre, the officer in charge last night at the Coast Guard station in Boston.
"We responded right away," Andre said.
It took 25 minutes for the Coast Guard's 47-foot boat to reach the barge and bring the diver back to shore, according to Andre. The two paramedics from the barge continued performing CPR on the man during the trip to Station Gloucester at the Harbor Loop, where Gloucester firefighters were waiting to take over and take the diver to the hospital.
He was pronounced dead at the hospital at 11:23 a.m.
The man's name was not being released Sunday night pending notification of his family. The police log noted that his next of kin lives out of the country.
Though Gloucester police responded to the accident report, state police are in charge of the investigation into the man's death, which occurred in state waters. The victim's diving equipment was seized so it could be examined and tested for possible mechanical failures.
The Coast Guard is also part of the ongoing investigation since the accident involved a commercial vessel.
Steve O'Connell, spokesman for the District Attorney's Office, said investigators do not suspect foul play.
According to Churchill, Suez Energy was given clearance by investigators to resume operations on the construction project. Work was scheduled to resume last night, she said.
An autopsy was expected to be performed Monday.
Staff writer Bruno Matarazzo contributed to this report.
Copyright (c) 2008, Gloucester Daily Times, Mass. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.