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Worker Hurt in Accident Aboard Ship

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A gruesome accident aboard a cargo ship in Los Angeles Harbor left a merchant seaman from Huntington Beach clinging to life Saturday.

August Benz, 67, was critically injured at Berth 302 about 10:45 a.m. when his left leg was nearly severed aboard the President Kennedy cargo ship, owned by American President Lines, authorities said.

Benz was working several stories above the deck scraping paint from fixtures, Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said. Benz was bracing his leg against a steel track used by an on-board crane for support, Humphrey said.

The accident triggered a dramatic rescue by co-workers who within minutes freed him from the machinery, placed him on a gurney strapped to a crane and gently lowered him to the Terminal Island docks and the open doors of a waiting ambulance.

Although rescuers had worked quickly, the victim’s loss of blood was so severe that he stopped breathing and had no pulse en route to St. Mary’s Medical Center in Long Beach. However, paramedics were able to revive Benz before he arrived at the hospital, Humphrey said.

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