Woman Crushed to Death in Freak Drawbridge Accident

She was on bridge when it was raised, was killed as it was lowered
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 1, 2014 7:49 AM CST

A horrific accident in Boston, where a woman was crushed to death in a freak drawbridge accident yesterday. The woman was walking over the Meridian Street bridge when it was raised for a boat; the bridge operator heard her screaming and lowered the bridge—but the woman, clinging to one of the two plates of the bridge and dangling over the water, was then crushed when it closed. Officials are mystified as to how the accident happened. The victim "was in an area where pedestrians should not be when the bridge is raised," says the police superintendent-in-chief. Among the questions, according to WCVB and the Boston Globe: whether safety gates were down and whether the victim had ignored warning lights or alarms before entering the bridge.

Locals are similarly baffled, and many say pedestrians are given sufficient warning before the bridge opens. "I walk over it every day," one tells the Boston Herald. "If you try to cross while they’re trying to operate the bridge, the [operator] will lay on the air horn like crazy." An investigation has been opened; the police spokesperson says the woman "was in a blind spot where [the operator] could not see her." Divers searched for her body for more than two and a half hours in Chelsea Creek, a Mystic River offshoot, but it was ultimately found on a concrete beam beneath the bridge. "I don’t know how she ended up there," says the deputy fire chief. "It was a very precarious place to reach." (In another recent tragedy, a new bride was killed in a car crash as she left her own wedding reception.)

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