New Hope bridge worker falls into Delaware

Posted: January 08, 2004

NEW HOPE — A 49-year-old man working on the reconstruction of the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge fell 15 feet into the Delaware River shortly before 10 a.m. yesterday, but was not seriously injured, police said.

Efstathios Loiosidis of Upper Darby was in the water for about five minutes before being taken to St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne, where he was treated and released, New Hope Police Officer Keith Golder reported.

Loiosidis is an employee of Allied Painting, a New Jersey subcontractor, said Linda Spalinski, spokeswoman for the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission.

The panel operates the toll-free bridge and is overseeing the work, which began Monday.

"We have suspended actual [reconstruction] activity because of the incident," Spalinski said. The commission has scheduled a meeting for 8 a.m. today with a health and safety representative from Allied Painting.

"There was fall protection on site this morning," Spalinski said, "including a safety harness which [the worker] was wearing." But, she said, because he was near the bridge abutment and "preparing to move onto land, he moved off the harness and slipped."

Spalinski said the firm had told the commission "they are confident they will be in a position to resume work [today]."

After New Hope police received a call at 9:55 a.m. reporting the accident, Golder said in his report, he arrived at the bridge "to find the victim already out of the water."

Golder wrote that "the victim was alert and taking his wet clothes off. He complained of lower-back pain."

Golder wrote that the worker "swam to the bank of the river and pulled himself to shore."

Shortly after 1 p.m., Golder wrote, the New Hope-Lambertville Rescue Squad told him that the worker had been released from the hospital.

The bridge project also had an unfortunate first day on Monday, when rainy weather stopped the reconstruction work before noon.

Contact staff writer Walter F. Naedele at 215-345-7768 or wnaedele@phillynews.com.

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