1700-lb. pipe falls off truck, killing worker

BALLSTON, NY – A 24-year-old construction worker from Massachusetts died after being crushed when a 1,700-pound pipe fell on him Saturday morning.

New York State Police say Gary T. Feeney of Dorchester, Mass., was pinned Saturday morning after the 40-foot pipe became dislodged while being unloaded from a flatbed tractor trailer.

Police say the pipe fell eight feet, crushing the 24-year-old, who was holding a guide rope as the pipe was lifted by an excavator with steel cables and hooks. The accident occurred at a National Grid construction site just outside of Saratoga Springs.

At about 10:42 a.m., the New York State Police in Saratoga were dispatched to a National Grid construction site on the northwest corner of State Route 67 and East Line Road in the town of Ballston for a report of a construction accident involving a pipe that had fallen on a worker.

Upon arrival, State Police members located the victim lying face down on the ground. Other workers at the site had pulled a 12-inch-by-40-foot pipe off him. Community Ambulance of Ballston Spa arrived and assumed treatment, and the victim was transported to Saratoga Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased at 11:20 a.m.

Feeney was employed by National Grid subcontractor Feeney Brothers Corp. of Dorchester.

Initial investigation at the scene indicates that the victim was assisting in unloading the 1700 pound pipe from a flatbed tractor trailer and was holding a guide rope while the pipe was being lifted by an excavator with steel cables and hooks.

The pipe is believed to have shifted causing slack in one of cables and dislodging one of the hooks. This caused the pipe to fall approximately 8 feet from the top of the load, pinning the victim to the ground.

A joint investigation is continuing. The state police are assisting the National Grid Internal Audit Team, the Public Service Commission and OSHA.