Vernon Knight, 54, was killed August 20 after a fall from an upper deck while assisting the crane operator in unloading a ship at Port Richmond, Philadelphia. The vessel, the New Orleans, is a Rickmers ship. Knight had worked as a longshoreman for about ten years when he fell into a lower hold onto his head. He was single.
This tragedy followed closely on the heels of the August 12 death of another Philadelphia longshoreman at the Packer Avenue Marine terminal in South Philadelphia. In that incident, Charles DiRago, 54, was killed when a tractor-trailer backed over him shortly after he was beginning to unload a ship. DiRago was the son of a longshoreman, had about 30 years on the job himself, and was the father of four.
Both Pennsylvania residents belonged to the International Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) and are sorely missed by their fellow workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is investigating both incidents.
The president of the Delaware River Stevedores, Robert Palaima, said, “We are deeply upset about it and will try to work with our partners in the ILA to be ever more vigilant about safety, because it’s a dangerous job, obviously.”
The attorneys at the Young Law Firm in New Orleans express their deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the two victims.