Shipyard worker killed in accident

WINTHROP – A 73-year-old Winthrop shipyard worker was killed Monday morning when a 3,500-pound winch broke free of its concrete footings and collapsed onto the man, authorities said yesterday.

“Some stress on that winch occurred, and … it slipped off its anchorage,’’ said Winthrop building inspector E. James Soper III. “The victim was pinned between the wall and the winch.’’

Jake Wark, a spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, said the unidentified victim was freed by the Winthrop Fire Department and taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he died of his injuries a few hours later. Wark said foul play does not appear to have been a factor.

Soper said the winch at the Mullins Marine Service yard was not sufficiently secured. He said anchor bolts were embedded in 2 ½ inches of concrete, and that while a boat was being moved back into the water, the anchor bolts released from the concrete.

“This is a terrible accident,’’ Soper said. “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family.’’

Helena Mullins, the owner of the business, said yesterday that the winch was secured. Asked about Soper’s comments, she said: “That’s his opinion. The State Police are still doing their investigation.’’

Soper also said the boatyard did not have proper permits. While a boatyard has been in use at the site now occupied by Mullins for decades, Soper said the area underwent a renovation more than four years ago.

However, he said, there are no inspection reports in the building inspector’s office files, nor are there any permit applications.

“That’s his opinion,’’ Mullins repeated. “There’s more to the story than whatever he’s telling you.’’

Soper said he took the job four years ago, and the renovation occurred under his predecessor.