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Fisherman Dies In Freezing Harbor

NEW BEDFORD, MA – On Tuesday, January 28, 2011, a fisherman died after falling into the icy New England waters while boarding a fishing boat near Eastern Fisheries on Hassey Street in New Bedford, MA. New Bedford is located in Bristol County, Massachusetts in the southwestern part of the state about 58 miles south of Boston.

The victim was later identified as Giuseppi ‘Joe’ Cracchiolo, 47 years old, from Gloucester, MA. His body was found by a fishing mate floating in the freezing water about 7:30 a.m. the next morning near the fishing boat, the Sunlight, which is a herring vessel based out of Gloucester.

The tragic accident happened when Cracchiolo slipped on an icy ramp while boarding the vessel. According to local police, there was a nearby surveillance video from Eastern Fisheries showing that Cracchiolo was trying to pull himself up onto a platform to board the Sunlight when he slipped on the ice and fell 20 feet below into the freezing harbor.

A police officer, who is part of the Police Department dive team, recovered the body and had to wear a full wet suit because of the freezing temperatures in the water. Even though the body was discovered less than 30 feet from a ladder, it is believed that it is unlikely that the victim would have been able to swim the distance to the ladder because the water was so cold.

According to police, Cracchiolo was returning to the vessel after a night out socializing a little after 1 a.m. in the morning. A friend and fishing mate of the victim who had returned to the boat earlier and gone to bed did not notice that he was missing until he discovered the body early the next morning floating in the water.

The Standard-Times of New Bedford published an article on this story at their website at Following below is an excerpt from that publication:

A fisherman died early this morning after slipping off an icy ramp and falling into the waters near Eastern Fisheries on Hassey Street, police said.

The body of the victim, a 47-year-old man, was found just before 7:30 a.m. today floating next to the Sunlight, a herring vessel out of Gloucester that unloads its catch at the South Terminal.

Authorities did not immediately released the man’s name this morning because they had not yet contacted his family. The Gloucester Times has identified the victim as Giuseppi ‘Joe’ Cracchiolo of Gloucester.

New Bedford Police Det. Lt. Jeffrey P. Silva said surveillance video at Eastern Fisheries showed that the victim tried to pull himself up onto a platform to board the vessel when he slipped on the ice and fell 20 feet below into the freezing harbor.

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