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Poisonous Gas In Ship Hold Kills Crewmen, Fells Rescuers

October 5, 1988

MIAMI (AP) _ Carbon monoxide that built up in a cargo ship’s hold killed two people Tuesday and overcame at least 14 others, including fire and police rescue workers, officials said.

Ship workers were using a gasoline-powered water pump to remove seawater from the hold, but inadvertently let the pump fill the hold with the deadly, odorless gas, said city fire spokeswoman Nivia Boaz said.

To squeeze into the hold through a two-foot opening, rescuers had to remove their emergency breathing apparatus, said fire-rescue Capt. Jim Tolbert.

Stacey Taibel, 55, and Fajaido Alamacio, 30, crew members on the Panamanian-registered Turrialda at the Port of Miami, suffered cardiac arrest and died, said Jackson Memorial Hospital spokeswoman Betty Baderman.

Seven firefighters were taken to Jackson Memorial and six were released, said Ms. Baderman. Firefighter Ronald Rickett, 47, was listed in serious condition, as were two police officers, Arthur Angelica, 34, and Tom Leis, 38.

Crew members Emanuel Merjado, 27, and Roy Geer, 35, were in critical condition at Jackson Memorial, she said.

Three crew members, a Filipino and two Nicaraguans, were reported in stable condition at Mercy Hospital.

A treatment being used for those overcome was to place them in hyperbaric chambers, similar to thse used to decompress divers, authorities said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Coast Guard joined local officials in investigating the accident.

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