One Worker, Trapped in a Braintree Water Tank, Has Died

Another has been rescued.


Update Friday, December 16: The diver’s body was recovered from the tank this morning after draining its water overnight, the Globe reports. The victim has not yet been identified.

One person is dead and another has been rescued after two workers found themselves trapped in a water tank in Braintree on Thursday.

The duo is rumored to be a father and son from Texas, but officials were remiss to confirm that on the record until they can alert the victim’s family. The survivor has been taken to the hospital with hypothermia, and is expected to live.

“It’s a difficult day for us,” Braintree Mayor Joseph Sullivan told reporters. “The individual was providing valuable service to our community. We also saw the best of our fire department and others in terms of the first responders who stepped up at a critical time to save the live of another individual.”

The victim’s body remains inside the million-gallon tank, which is now being slowly drained to aid in the recovery effort, a process that will take an estimated 12-14 hours, officials said. Once the recovery is complete, the tank will be refilled and put back to use in about five days.

Officials say one man in diving gear plunged into the tank, which stands 70-80 feet tall, as part of a routine inspection of its interior lining. The tragic series of events began at around 10 a.m., after what Sullivan described as a possible equipment failure, which left the diver stranded in the water and losing air.

The second worker, who had been working as a spotter observing the dive from on top of the tank, jumped in to help, officials say.

A third worker had been monitoring a video feed of the inspection from the ground, called 911. A few minutes later, first responders were able to hoist the spotter out of the tank, officials said.

“The crew from our Engine 3 did a fantastic job,” said Braintree Fire Chief James O’Brien. “It takes a lot of strength and willpower to lift somebody that can’t help themselves out of a tank.”

Video recorded at the scene shows rescue technicians perched on top of the tank near a small, square opening. “Windy, icy conditions” made the effort treacherous, O’Brien said. “That’s why we chose to drain the tank rather than putting somebody else in jeopardy.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration will also investigate, officials say.