The Port of Tacoma was shut down Tuesday afternoon after a longshore crane mechanic died in an industrial accident while atop a container crane at the port’s Pierce County Terminal.
Authorities are still investigating how the man died. His family identified him as 46-year-old Jeff Surber of Bonney Lake.
“It’s a long-standing tradition that when we have an accident like this,” said Longshore Local 23 President Scott Mason, “that we stand down.” The port was to reopen at 7 a.m. today.
The man had been an “A” member of Local 23 for seven years. He would have been 47 today. He has one child, 19 years old.
The mechanic was working atop the towering crane making adjustments to the wire ropes used to raise the metal containers to and from the ship’s deck, said the union local president.
“It’s a job that we do routinely,” said Mason. “Something went tragically wrong.”
The longshoreman who died was working with another mechanic atop the crane.
Fire crews were called to the Pierce County Terminal between state Route 509 and East Alexander Avenue about 12:10 p.m. on report of a man who was injured on top of a crane.
Pierce County Terminal is used by Evergreen Lines. No ships were at the berth when the accident occurred.
Mason said he expects extensive investigations by the port, the employer and the union.Stacia Glenn and John Gillie contributed to this report.