The man, a private contractor for the Buffalo Sewer Authority, fell 15 feet down a well

By Rachel DeSantis
October 23, 2020 10:33 AM
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The body of a contractor who fell down a well leading into the Niagara River was recovered overnight in upstate New York, authorities said.

The Buffalo Police Department said Thursday afternoon that its underwater rescue and recovery team was responding to a water rescue call near the foot of Ferry & Bird Island in Buffalo.

Then, just before 7 p.m., police said the mission — which had evolved into a recovery operation — had been suspended. They announced Friday morning that the man’s body was recovered overnight on Bird Island.

The victim was a private contractor for the Buffalo Sewer Authority, Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo told NBC affiliate WGRZ.

The outlet reported that the well at the city’s water treatment plant is 15 feet deep, and eventually feeds into the Niagara River.

The man was wearing a vest but not a life vest when he fell, and was not tethered or anchored to anything, Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo told WGRZ.

“Once he fell into this confined space, it’s a very intricate intake system that meanders into a lot of different areas, so it’s a very difficult process to find out exactly where he could’ve been,” Renaldo said. “There was a hope that he could’ve gotten snagged on something as soon as he fell into the well, but unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case.”

“We took every step imaginable to locate him,” he added.

Police said the investigation of the incident, which they called an industrial accident, continues.