Autopsy to be performed on diver who was working off Gloucester

Stephanie Silverstein

A diver working on the construction of a liquefied natural gas deepwater port about 10 miles off the coast of Gloucester died on Saturday morning, after reporting he was in distress under water.

The name of the diver has not yet been released, pending notification of his next of kin. He was an employee of the Buffalo Industrial Diving Company, a subcontractor of Cal-Dive. The pipeline, known as the Neptune project, is under construction by SUEZ LNG North America.

“Our hearts go out to his family,” said Carol Churchill, communications manager for SUEZ LNG North America. “It’s a very sad situation.”

After the distress call was made, the U.S. Coast Guard transported the man to the Gloucester base, and the Gloucester Fire Department took him to Addison Gilbert Hospital. Autopsy and toxicology reports are being conducted.

The man was living on the Lone Star, the 314-foot construction barge. About 170 construction workers are living on the barge while working on the project, which began about two weeks ago. Churchill said grief counselors are on board the Lone Star to assist crewmembers. The Coast Guard gave SUEZ LNG North America permission to resume operations on the Neptune project Sunday.

Gloucester Police Department Detective Michael Gossom said the matter is under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Massachusetts State Police and the Gloucester Police Department.

Churchill said the Coast Guard performed an investigation of the diver’s equipment and did not find anything that would have caused his death, but the investigation is ongoing.