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Body of man stuck in Paria pipeline recovered- Trinidad

Diving disaster at Paria facility…

The body of Rishi Nagassar was removed from the pipleine at 12.36 am today.

In a statement, Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited said it has advised the family and offered counselling and condolences.

Paria said the recovery operation had to be conducted with extreme care given the fact that the bodies were lodged behind diving equipment in a 30-inch pipeline, 60ft below the surface and more than 100 feet inside.

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Emtombed for six days, Nagassar had been sucked so far into the undersea crude oil pipeline that up to yesterday afternoon, it had not yet been found.

Paria had called Nagassar’s family yester­day morning to inform them they were now attempting a new method to get his remains out of the 1,200-foot (366-metre), 30-inch-diameter (76-centimetre) pipeline that connects Berth 5 to Berth 6 in the waters off Pointe-a-Pierre.

It appears as though Nagas­sar was the first person to be pulled into the pipeline, followed by a piece of equipment that has now blocked access to him.

The company had been able to find the bodies of Fyzal Kurban, Yusuf Henry and Kazim Ali Jr by Monday afternoon by using high-pressure water to flush the pipeline. The bodies were recovered through the opening in which they were sucked in last Friday at 2.30 p.m.

The three men were known to be alive up to nightfall on Friday, according to the lone survivor, Christopher Boodram, who was rescued by volunteer divers shortly before 6 p.m.

The bodies have been returned to their families who are now preparing funerals for their loved ones.

However, the agonising wait continues for Nagassar’s wife, Vanessa Kussie.

In a brief telephone interview yesterday, Kussie said Paria had contacted her earlier in the day to say her husband’s body had not yet been found.

“But I think they really have no interest. What they are doing today should have been done since Friday. At least they would have tried to save him. That is all I have to say about that,” she said.

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A company insider told the Express that following the reco­very of the three bodies on Mon­day, a remotely opera­ted underwater vehicle (ROV) was sent into the pipeline, but reached up to 450 feet (122 metres) inside until it met an obstacle which appeared to be a plug. The plug is an infla­table device inserted into pipelines to prevent gases from escaping.

The plug was sucked in along with the men, their scuba gear and tools. Ali’s camera which he had been using to record the completion of the job was also found.

This inflatable plug, the Express was told, blocked the ROV from going farther into the pipeline to locate Nagassar’s body.

In a news release yesterday, Paria advised that operations continued throughout Tuesday night to recover Nagassar’s body.

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Paria said as it commences the next phase in the recovery process, “we are mindful of the careful and respectful retrieval of the body in a manner that minimises any impact to the environment”.

The company noted the incident has taken a significant toll on the families and loved ones of LMCS employees who were involved” and extended “deepest condolences to them at this extremely difficult time.

VANESSA’S WAIT IS OVER  Trinidad & Tobago Express Newspapers


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