A Port of Los Angeles worker was killed and another was injured after a problem with a piece of equipment used to move cargo, police said Wednesday morning.
The worker died about 7:25 a.m. at Pier 300 in San Pedro in an accident involving a top-loader container handler, said Rachel Campbell, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Port Police.
A second worker was seriously injured and taken to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
Both workers are members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
Campbell did not say what happened to the top-loader but noted “it was faulty.” KCAL-TV Channel 9 reported that a tire on the heavy-equipment machinery exploded. Port police said the men were working on a tire when the accident occurred.
The Fenix Marine Services container terminal was closed afterward.
The union was slated to hold its annual First Blood ceremony, which honors workers who have died on the waterfront while on the job, later in the day.
“It took on a whole new meaning this morning, that’s for sure,” said Greg Mitre, president of the ILWU Pensioners Assns. “We didn’t expect this.”
Mitre said the worker who died was 58-year-old Jose Santoyo, a mechanic who had worked at the port for 35 years. Santoyo was planning to retire next year, Mitre said.
The injured worker, whom Mitre identified only as Pedro, underwent surgery after being put into a medically induced coma. The two men had worked together for 25 years, Mitre said.
The union pensioners president said a staff member saw a piñata in Santoyo’s home when visiting to inform his wife of his death. The family was preparing to celebrate the first birthday of Santoyo’s grandson Saturday, he said.
“It was very somber,” Mitre said of the First Blood ceremony. Santoyo “was a super hard worker — dedicated, loyal and hardworking.”
Port of Los Angeles chief Gene Seroka, City Councilman Joe Buscaino and other politicians released statements expressing their condolences for the workers’ families.
“My heart goes out to the families of the victims of this tragic accident and to all the brothers and sisters of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union,” Seroka said.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health and the U.S. Coast Guard are investigating.