Stevedore killed in accident at the Port
An unfortunate accident at the Port of Belize at the crack of dawn this morning led to the death of a stevedore. Ian Madril was being lifted on a flat rack when it gave way. Madril and another stevedore, Deon Pitter, were discharging a cargo ship; the men plunged some thirty feet. Madril did not survive the fall while Pitter is receiving medical treatment. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.
Isani Cayetano, Reporting
Forty year old Ian Madril, a seasoned dockworker who has been employed at the Port of Belize Ltd. since 2004, is one of two stevedores to be injured in a fatal mishap this morning. Along with his coworker, thirty-nine year old Deon Pitter, both men were being hoisted on a large mechanical fastener known as a spreader, used in the lifting and transportation of forty foot containers to and from the moored vessel. The pair was among a gang of dock hands discharge Kappeln, a four hundred and thirty-three feet long container ship flying the Antigua and Barbuda flag, when the clasp gave way.
Arturo Vasquez, Receiver/Manager, P.B.L.
“I got a call this morning at about 3:45 that they had an incident, there was an accident whereby while they were moving a flat rack, sort of like a small [frame], like the bottom of a container. They were trying to put it in place [when] it hit the side of the vessel and both men that were on it lost balance and fell inside the hatch.”
According to Arturo Vasquez, receiver/manager of P.B.L., the men crashed against the ship before plunging from a height of approximately thirty feet into the cargo hold. Madril, a heavyset stevedore, would not survive the fall. Pitter, who suffered injury to his right elbow and left thigh, remains hospitalized at the K.H.M.H.
“One is dead and the other guy has a broken arm. I visited both [men]; well I visited Mr. Pitter in the hospital, I spoke to him, spoke to his girlfriend and I told them that, you know, we are here to assist them and I also visited the morgue to actually see the condition of the body of Mr. Madril, who died. I haven’t seen his family yet, they are back in Camalote and she [his wife] is coming down tomorrow to see us but I just wanted the family to be certain that we are here to look after them.”
Despite frequent inspections, Vasquez says that the workmen should have discontinued the usage of the spreader had they found it to be faulty.
“This particular equipment is checked on a regular basis. Whenever the stevedores are using it and they report a malfunction the best thing for them to do is not to use it, report it. And in many cases, including this morning when this incident happened the head of the mechanic section was out there as well. When I was the pier this morning at five o’clock, or at a quarter to five, the head of the mechanic was already there inspecting the piece of equipment to see whether the equipment had failed or not. He was satisfied with what he saw. So we believe it’s really, it’s an accident whereby when it hit the side of the ship perhaps the locks became loose.”
This morning’s accident is the first since the Port of Belize went into receivership in January. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.