Superior police investigate death at Fraser Shipyards

Despite lifesaving efforts, the 64-year-old man from Watertown, Wisconsin, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Shipyard seen from above
An aerial view of Fraser Shipyards in Superior on July 10, 2017.
Steve Kuchera / File / Duluth News Tribune
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SUPERIOR — A 64-year-old man of Watertown, Wisconsin, was found dead Monday at Fraser Shipyards after reportedly falling off a ship in dry dock. According to a news release from the Superior Police Department, the initial call around 11:50 a.m. reported that a worker had fallen from a ship approximately 50 feet to the ground below.

Lifesaving efforts were made, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene. The name of the victim is being withheld pending family notification.

The incident remains under investigation, though the police department noted it does not suspect it was "anything other than a tragic accident," according to the release.

"We extend our heartfelt condolences to the worker's family and friends for their loss," read the release.

Monday's fatal accident is the second in five years at the Superior-based shipyard. Welder Joseph Burch died of sepsis after he was burned in a workplace incident aboard the docked freighter Roger Blough at Fraser in 2017. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration concluded that Burch was wearing frayed coveralls and not provided with fire-retardant gear as he washed old welds using an oxygen-acetylene torch in a cargo hold.


In 2018, a group of 60 workers received a $7.5 million civil court settlement after they'd been exposed to dangerous levels of lead in 2016 at Fraser Shipyards. The settlement was related to work to install new engines on the lake freighter Herbert C. Jackson. In that instance, Fraser also settled a $1.4 million OSHA penalty, paying $700,000 .

Fraser paid a penalty of more than $9,000 in 2019 after an employee was struck by falling steel plates, leading to a citation from OSHA.

Our newsroom occasionally reports stories under a byline of "staff." Often, the "staff" byline is used when rewriting basic news briefs that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, and which require little or no reporting. At times, this byline is used when a news story includes numerous authors or when the story is formed by aggregating previously reported news from various sources. If outside sources are used, it is noted within the story.
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