Police ID worker who died after falling into Champlain Canal in Kingsbury, 4 other rescued

KINGSBURY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – New York State Police say four workers were rescued from the Champlain Canal Friday afternoon.

After falling in, three had signs of hypothermia; however, one of the 5 workers, identified as Rahssan Smith, 41, of Albany, who fell in did not survive.

Divers with New York State Police say the water at the Champlain Canal on Friday was 46 degrees.

At around 11:30 a.m., a 911 call came into Washington County dispatch for workers in the water at Lock 9 on Route 149 in Kingsbury.

Fire and EMS crews arrived and were able to get four workers out of the water and transport them to Glens Falls Hospital. At that time, a fifth worker was missing.

A helicopter was on standby and above a New York State Police helicopter searching for a missing man.

More than an hour later, at around 1 p.m., divers found the missing 40-year-old man’s body submerged in the Champlain Canal underneath a bridge he was working on.

Brian Viggiani with the NYS DOT says the workers were contracted by DOT and were standing on scaffolding and painting the bridge at the time of the incident.

Police believe a cable may have broken while workers were completing work.

“Right now obviously we’re working with law enforcement to try and figure out what happened. Right now, our thoughts and prayers are with the individuals here. It’s a tough day for the agency,” Viggiani said.

“He’s not a local resident but he is a New York resident,” Washington County Undersheriff John Winchell said. “We were assisted at the scene by the State Police and the State Police dive team as well as the local fire departments and we wished a better outcome.”

DOT says the workers were contracted by a company called P.S. Bruckel.

OSHA and DOT are currently investigating the incident.

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