East St. Louis, IL (KTVI) - The search is over for a Mississippi River Bridge Project worker who fell into the river Wednesday morning. The body of Andy Gammon, 32, was found by a diver just before six Thursday evening. He had never gotten free of the heavy machine he was operating when it plunged into the river.
Gammon, a carpenter, had been running what’s called a man-lift on a barge adjacent to the eastern tower of the new bridge. Officials still aren’t saying how it happened, but the machine went into the water.
Workers on such machines are tethered to them, a standard practice designed to keep someone from falling in the water. The practice, however, assumes the machine will stay on the barge. In this case the man-lift went in first, taking Gammon with it.
“Yes he was still tethered and, sadly, you’ve gotta admire all these construction people because it sure is dangerous work,” St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone said. “And our heart goes out to the family of all construction people.”
Gammon’s family consists of a wife and two children. Officials say Gammon’s wife and parents were present when his remains were finally found.
“It was relief once they found the body,” East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore said. “They were relieved about it. They’re hurt, but they’re relieved.”
The investigation will now be taken over by OSHA to determine what caused the accident, and if it might have been prevented.
An autopsy is scheduled for Friday morning.