BRAINTREE (CBS) – The body of a diver who died in massive, municipal water tank in Braintree was recovered early Friday morning.

It took crews 16 hours to drain one million gallons of water from the tank so they could get to the man who died Thursday while inspecting the tank.  His body was removed around 4:30 a.m.

Rescuers atop a water tank in Braintree where two workers became trapped. (WBZ-TV)

Rescuers atop a water tank in Braintree where two workers became trapped. (WBZ-TV)

The diver’s equipment failed inside the tank, cutting off his air supply.

Authorities identified the man as 47-year-old David Scott, of Fort Worth, Texas.

David Scott died during a water tank inspection in Braintree. (WBZ-TV)

David Scott died during a water tank inspection in Braintree. (WBZ-TV)

A spotter jumped inside the tank to try to rescue his co-worker when he noticed something was wrong, but he was quickly overcome by the 45-degree water.

“This gentleman was completely soaked,” Fire Chief Jim O’Brien said. “He was numb, he was cold, he had no body strength at all.”

Rescue crews were able to pull him to safety in the dangerous conditions. He was taken to the hospital and treated for hypothermia.

Technical rescue team members on top of a Braintree water tank where two workers were trapped inside. (WBZ-TV)

Technical rescue team members on top of a Braintree water tank where two workers were trapped inside. (WBZ-TV)

With bone-chilling winds whipping 70 feet above the ground and water quickly freezing on top of the tank, O’Brien said draining the one-million gallon structure would be the safest way to recover the body.

Scott’s 14-year-old son was on the ground at the scene when the tragedy unfolded.

Kentucky-based Pittsburg Tank & Tower Group was hired for the inspection, conducted once every five years at each of the town’s five water tanks.

Federal records reviewed by WBZ-TV indicate only one “serious” safety violation in the past decade, according to OSHA’s web site.

Pittsburg Tank & Tower subcontracted the inspection job to TK Potable Diving, located in Texas.

“Our thoughts and Prayers go out to the family and others involved,” Patrick Heltsley, Vice President of Pittsburg Tank & Tower, told WBZ in an email.

TK Potable Diving did not responded to requests for comment.

Investigators will now try to determine how a task routinely performed all over the country suddenly turned tragic.

Mayor Joseph Sullivan said there is no threat to the town’s drinking water supply.

Crews will disinfect the tank before refilling it, which will take about five days.

Comments (11)
  1. Why can this not be done in the warm seasons of the year?

    1. Nuff Said. Tragedy could have been avoided.

  2. This was a permit required confined space entry, if done properly and according to law no one would have died, Sad event.

  3. does someone know how to start a fund for Mr. Scott’s family . His son was with him when he died . It’s Christmas , lets act like Christians .

  4. What is wrong with their heads to even consider having an inspection done at this time of year, especially considering the weather conditions?? Totally inexcusable for someone to die for other’s stupidity.