Worker's body found, following accident at Sewer Authority pumping station

Oct 22, 2020

Buffalo Police and Fire crews were conducting a water recovery operation Thursday afternoon, after a private contractor fell into a well while working at the Buffalo Sewer Authority's wastewater treatment plant on Bird Island. Early Friday morning, Buffalo Police tweeted that the contractor's body had been found.

Police were first called to the station shortly after 11 a.m.

Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo speaks to reporters about a recovery operation at the Buffalo Sewer Authority's wastewater treatment station on Bird Island.
Credit Michael Mroziak, WBFO

rmed that a private contractor had fallen into a well, which is extremely deep at the site," said Buffalo Police Captain Jeffrey Rinaldo. "Buffalo Police and Buffalo Fire responded. ADI (Ambulance Dispatch and Inspection) was summoned. Based on information preliminarily received, the system here connects itself eventually to the Niagara River."

The police department's Underwater Rescue and Recovery Team and U.S. Coast Guard were called in as a precaution. Shortly after 1 p.m., what was treated as a search-and-rescue operation formally became a recovery operation.

The victim fell an estimated 15 feet into a well that was anywhere from 30 to 35 feet deep.

"Once he fell into this confined space, it's a very intricate intake system that meanders into a lot of different areas,"said Buffalo Fire Commissioner William Renaldo. "It's very difficult process to find out exactly where he could have been. And we took our steps, every step imaginable, to locate. We were hoping he was in an area of safe refuge. But at this point, we don't believe that's the case."

The victim's name has not been released.

Fire and Police officials, citing the dangerous conditions, stated they did not plan to put any of their crews into the water as part of the recovery operation.

Then, about 7 a.m. Friday, Buffalo Police tweeted that the contractor's body had been found overnight.

Credit Buffalo Police / Twitter