By Daniel Lovering
BOSTON (Reuters) - A woman was crushed to death during the lowering of a drawbridge in East Boston and the bridge operator has been put on leave pending an investigation, authorities said on Wednesday.
A preliminary investigation showed the unnamed, Boston-area woman was attempting to walk across the structure, the Meridian Street Bridge, on Tuesday when it was raised to allow a vessel to pass on the Chelsea River below, Boston Police said in a statement posted online.
"The bridge operator heard what he believed to be calls for help and lowered the bridge in an attempt to help the victim," the statement said. "The victim suffered serious injuries."
Her body, which suffered massive trauma, was found near the bridge, also known as the Andrew McArdle Bridge, said Boston police spokeswoman Nicole Grant.
Grant said the woman had been crushed by the bridge as it was being lowered.
"Obviously, it's a tragedy," she said.
The bridge operator, whose name has not been released, was taken to the hospital with stress-related conditions after the accident on Tuesday afternoon, said Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Mayor Thomas Menino.
Police said the operator was cooperating with authorities.
A hearing on the matter will be held next week, Joyce said.
(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Steve Orlofsky)