Contention: What happened at Port of Albany?

Dana C. Silano

There are some contentions regarding the specifics of an accident that took the life of a 21-year-old Dolgeville resident.

According to police and fire personnel, Raymond Hart was freed from beneath the boom of a flatbed on Nov. 27, that is not under dispute.

But Hart’s family, namely his father and brother, remember events differently than what was reported by police.

According to police reports, an employee at the scene at the Port of Albany said Hart screamed out once.

“My husband and son, and every other man in that shop, knows what happened there,” Nade Hart told The Evening Times. “He did not scream, he did not know what happened ... he died instantly. They [his co-workers] were able to free him, but it just was too late. My son did not suffer ... he did not know what hit him. Every man in that shop could tell me that.”

She said that it was tearing her family apart that Raymond was reported to have screamed out during the accident, something she said never occurred.

“His brother was right beside him working,” she said through tears. “The thing that caught his attention was hearing the hydraulics blow.”

Raymond’s father, Rodney Hart, said the screams heard were that of him and his oldest son, Colin, upon witnessing what had happened, not his son, Raymond.

After speaking to the family yesterday, The Evening Times again spoke with Public Information Officer and Albany Police Detective James Miller, who responded to the scene last week and has been speaking to the press regarding the accident on behalf of police and fire personnel.

“I was told [by firefighters] that he was in almost full cardiac arrest and wasn’t pronounced dead until he was brought to the hospital,” Miller said. “This could be technicalities as far as the hospital is concerned when they pronounced him dead. I spoke with one of the fire captains who responded, and he said that it was clear that he was in full cardiac arrest. Doctors continued to work on him and attempted to revive him even in the emergency room. Technically speaking, he was not dead on impact. That’s in medical terminology though.”

“My oldest son and myself were right beside Raymond when this happened,” Rodney Hart said, “and I know for a fact that this boy never felt a thing. That’s all I can say. He never screamed ... he never responded. I can say that my oldest son and myself did everything that we could to remove that crane from that boy. Every man in that shop — all his co-workers — also did the same.”

“With a forklift,” Miller said, “they [employees] got the crane off of him somewhat, but still couldn’t get [Raymond] out. I was at the scene and a captain of the fire department told me specifically that it was 17 minutes before he was freed from beneath the boom.

“Co-workers were successful in getting the crane off of his chest, but the firefighters released him from beneath the cab and flatbed. They actually had to secure the crane and pull him out.”

Rodney Hart did agree with Miller that it was the firefighters that pulled his son out.

“I understand it is a very emotional time for Raymond’s family,” Miller said, “and unfortunately during an emotional time like this, not everything is clear to anyone who worked with him and particularly the family members.

“Under the circumstances, every aspect of what went on might not exactly be clear. It’s hard to take that into account understanding time frames. A couple minutes could seem like an eternity to someone who was there when it happened.”

“I don’t know why it happened, but I know what happened as it happened,” Rodney Hart said.

“Everyone,” Miller stressed, “including his co-workers, tried to get him out as quickly as possible. We are not by any means saying that his co-workers didn’t do everything they could.”

“I love my son dearly with all my heart,” Raymond’s father said quietly and sincerely. “I’ll never forget him. He’s always in my heart and my mind, and I miss him already. I’ll always miss him.”