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Man Dies on Portland Barge

A 57-year-old man was killed Sunday after falling into the chemical holding tank of a barge located on the banks of the Willamette River in Portland, according to fire officials.  

The man was first reported missing around 10am local time by a co-worker who had thought the man could have fallen overboard. The employee said he had last seen the man near the hatch of the chemical hold and just briefly turned away before turning back and realizing his co-worker went missing.  Firefighters responding to the scene said they had found a rope that led into an open hatch that covered a chemical holding tank on the barge.  Almost 4 hours later, the man’s body was pulled from the emptied tank by HAZMAT crews.

According to the Portland Fire and Rescue report the tank contained about 12 feet of liquid Lignin Amine, a corrosive material used in agriculture.  Initial reports indicate that the air above the liquid had an oxygen level of less than 1 percent and likely caused the man to pass out and fall into the tank.

The victim was later identified as 57-year-old John Michael Summers.

Officials with the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division are investigating the incident.

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