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MOBILE, AL -  A railroad worker for The Alabama State Port Authority, was killed by a train Saturday, September 4, at the McDuffie Coal Terminal, located on the Mobile River at the Alabama State Docks. The McDuffie Coal Terminal is one of the nation’s leading facilities for coal exporting.

Aerial view of McDuffie Coal Terminal on Mobile River at Alabama State Docks

According to Port Authority CEO,  Jimmy Lyons, the victim was a ground person on a train crew at the time of the accident. The victim had been in contact with a terminal railroad engineer in a locomotive that was moving train cars. When the engineer lost contact with the victim, the train was stopped.

The victim was later identified as 27 year old Joshua Roper. Alabama Port Authority officials said that Joshua Roper was a switchman for the Terminal Railway Division at the state docks.

“He was a fellow employee, but they don’t really want us to say because I don’t know anything you know. I don’t know the facts. I wasn’t here so, I was off work,” a co-worker said.

An investigation is underway as they try to piece together what happened early that evening. Raliroad officials have been unable to locate any witnesses who may have seen the accident.

“We are deeply saddened that this happened,” Lyons said.

Investigators from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) were en route, said Judy Adams, a Port Authority spokeswoman.

“That process was launched immediately,” Adams said.

Railroad operations at McDuffie Coal Terminal were shut down.

“Nothing’s been moved until we can get investigators on site,” Lyons said.

“We haven’t found anyone who actually saw the accident,” he said.

Lyons said there were no indications that the train violated any procedures.

A McDuffie Coal Terminal employee who was in the vicinity didn’t see what happened, according to Lyons.

“There was a lot of confusion initially. Details are still very sketchy. It’s going to take some time to piece together what happened,” he said.

Port Authority police, Mobile police and fire crews were also dispatched to the scene, officials said.

Published by FELA lawyer Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP

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