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South Carolina man, 63, dies after falling up to 100ft into ship’s smokestack

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A man in South Carolina was killed after falling from a height of 100ft to the bottom of a ship’s smokestack while working, officials said.

The unnamed 63-year-old man was working while standing on a small platform inside the smokestack. But the platform gave way and the man fell to the bottom of the structure on Sunday, said North Charleston’s police department.

The workers lost sight of the man after he fell to the bottom of the ship but maintained audible contact with him till he became unresponsive, officials said in an incident report.

The man was found dead with injuries by first responders, the report said.

The incident was dubbed an “industrial accident” by police who said the victim was not wearing a harness when he stood around 63-100ft on the smokestack, reported South Carolina-based newspaper The State.

The incident is being investigated by the US labour department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The incident took place at 1670 Drydock Avenue in the Detyens Shipyards, which is the largest commercial shipyard on the East Coast. It was founded by Bill Detyens around 60 years ago and provides repair work for commercial and military vessels.

The company has not issued a statement in response to the incident yet.

Since 2019, at least four people, including the 63-year-old worker, have allegedly died at the shipyard in various accidents, reported The Post and Courier newspaper.

In April 2019, welder Juan Villalobos Hernandez died at the shipyard after being struck by a heavy piece of equipment that was sprung free when a rope snapped on the lifeboat he was working on, pinning him against the boat’s equipment.

Another man Martin Anthony, 51, died allegedly by falling on 27 June 2019 at the shipyard.

On 13 January 2020, a 34-year-old worker identified as David Clark died after he was hit by a shackle and plummeted nearly four stories from the top dock of the ship while working.

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