Longshoreman Survives 100-Foot Fall Into a Cargo Hold

Courtesy New Orleans Fire Department

Published Oct 14, 2021 10:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

[Brief] On Tuesday, New Orleans firefighters rescued a longshoreman who survived a 60-100 foot fall into the hold of a cargo ship. 

At about 1730 hours Tuesday, New Orleans Emergency Medical Services and the New Orleans Fire Department were dispatched to a medical emergency at the port's Poland Avenue Wharf. A longshoreman who had been working on board the bulker St. George had reportedly tripped and fallen to the bottom of an open hold, which was about 60-100 feet down. Photos from the scene appear to show that the hold was partially filled with bundles of rebar. 

Astonishingly, the longshoreman survived the fall. EMS personnel arrived first and bandaged the victim's injuries, Fire Capt. Scott Chapuis told local media, but it was up to the fire department to get him out. Several firemen descended into the hold with a Stokes litter and secured the victim with straps. When ready, they used the ship's crane to fly him out of the hold and deliver him to safety. 

According to the fire department, the victim was conscious, alert and able to communicate with responders throughout this evolution. Despite the height of the fall - a distance that carries a very high rate of mortality - the only injury that was apparent at the scene was a broken arm. The victim was delivered to a nearby hospital for treatment.