A woman attempting to cross the Meridian Street Bridge in East Boston was crushed to death on Tuesday afternoon as she hung to one of the plates of the lift bridge, which then closed on top of her, said city administration officials.
Police have not identified her, but relatives say she is Aura Garcia, 43, of East Boston. Her friends call her "Laura."
Witnesses could hear her screaming for help.
"I couldn't see her, but I could hear her," said Waldina Garcia, a 47-year-old East Boston resident, who was waiting to cross the bridge from the Chelsea side. "She was screaming and screaming and screaming." Garcia said the screams lasted for about a minute and that she saw a gray hat fall from the top of the bridge.
Emergency workers were called around 12:21pm. Aura Garcia's body was taken down by firefighters at 4:30pm.
The bridge operator had lifted the bridge to allow a boat traveling on the Chelsea River, officials said.
Waldina Garcia said she was the only pedestrian waiting to cross from the Chelsea side. She was waiting at the gate for about five minutes, when she heard the screams. At least two bridge workers rushed up stairs alongside the bridge. Then Garcia said she saw the plate on the Chelsea side go down.
It was not clear if Aura Garcia tried crossing the bridge after the warning lights and alarms were activated.
As the two plates of the bridge rose, Aura Garcia grabbed hold of one of them, clinging to it as she screamed for help and dangled over the water, police said.
The bridge operator heard the screams and lowered the bridge, trying to help her, authorities said. The woman was crushed by the plates instead, police said.
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