Worker seriously hurt after falling through Stratford bridge under construction, official says

Photo of Peter Yankowski

STRATFORD — A worker suffered serious injuries Tuesday morning after she fell through a hole in the Washington Bridge, plummeting as much as 50 feet to a construction barge below, according to the fire department.

Firefighters used ropes to rescue the 55-year-old woman who was placed on a fire boat and taken to the hospital by an ambulance once they reached shore, Stratford Assistant Fire Chief Robert Daniel said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the fall, Stratford police said.

The incident happened shortly before 8 a.m. Tuesday on the bridge, which spans the Housatonic River, connecting Boston Post Road in Stratford to the Devon section of Milford.

The woman fell through an approximately 3-by-5-foot hole in the bridge, according to Daniel. It was unclear if anything was covering the hole when the woman fell.

Daniel said the woman, who is an employee of the contractor repairing the bridge, fell 40 to 50 feet to the barge below. She was found "in a pretty tight area," of the barge, he said.

He said the woman was alert and oriented after the fall. 

Firefighters moored a boat alongside the barge and requested paramedics for advanced life support, Daniel said. The woman was treated and stabilized before firefighters extricated her from the barge and got her on the rescue boat. 

She was then transported to the shore where an ambulance took her to Bridgeport Hospital.

The Department of Transportation has contracted out the rehabilitation of the bridge, a nearly $20 million project that's expected to be completed this June. 

Daniel said the high-angle rope rescue was "very uncommon," but the department had trained so most of its members are able to utilize it. 

“They used their training this morning," he added.