ELIZABETH — Police said doctors at University Medical Center tried to reattach a dockworker’s hand this afternoon after it was severed in the third serious accident in three months at the APM Port Elizabeth container terminal.
The dockworker hurt today, a 49-year-old Paramus man, was replacing a hoist cable when it became wrapped around his arm and then tightened, said Joe Pentangelo, a spokesman for the Port Authority Police, which responded to the accident.
“His hand was severed from his arm,” Pentangelo said. “The worker was transported to University Hospital (in Newark), and the hand was also transported.”
A hospital spokeswoman, Tracey Newton, said the trauma center is equipped to perform reattachment operations and has staff specializing in such procedures. However, Newton could not immediately comment on today’s case, and it was unclear whether the attempt to reattach the man’s hand was a success.
Pentangelo could not say how the accident occurred.
It was the third incident involving an APM worker since Aug. 7, when Judy Jones, also 49, of Newark, died after being struck by a vehicle used to move containers around the docks. A fellow union longshoremen, Victor Belo, 48, of North Arlington, has been charged with her death, after investigators say he was drunk while driving the front-loader.
On Sept. 17, two other workers at APM suffered burns and smoke inhalation, when another vehicle used to move containers caught fire and the flames ignited wood pulp inside the container it was carrying.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the fatality, with a report due sometime around the end of the year.
No one answered the phone at the APM terminal this afternoon., and a spokesman at the company’s headquarters in the Netherlands did not return an email requesting comment on the spate of mishaps.