Attempts to reach truck that rolled off ferry called off

| 1/2/2003

Officials have called off efforts to raise or examine a truck that rolled off the back of a Long Island ferry in November, killing the trucker, The New Haven Register reported recently.

A 1989 Western Star tractor-trailer driven by Michael J. Zuber, 53, of Stratford, CT, was bound for Orient Point, NY, when it ripped through chains stretching across the stern of the ferry Susan Anne and sank to a depth of 65 feet less than a mile off Long Island.

Press reports at the time said Zuber was either ejected from the truck or managed to get out as it slid over. He was unconscious when pulled from the water shortly after the 10:15 a.m. incident and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The cause of death was listed as drowning.

Detective Sgt. Edward Light of the Suffolk Police Homicide Squad, Long Island, NY, told The Register strong currents and overall dangerous conditions have prevented divers from completing attempts to reach the truck.

Light told The Register, "We have no plans to conduct any further dives or make any attempts to bring the truck to the surface." However, he did not indicate whether divers would resume their work in the spring, when better weather would increase chances of safely reaching the rig.

The Hartford Courant reported in late November that security blocks required by the Coast Guard were not placed behind the wheels of the tractor-trailer.

The wedge-shaped blocks, called chocks, should have prevented the truck from rolling, investigators said. Coast Guard regulations specify that vehicles at both ends of the ferry should have their wheels securely chocked while the vessel is underway.

The ferry company, Cross Sound Ferry of New London, was responsible for placing the blocks behind Zuber's truck, which was pulling equipment that pushed its weight to about 100,000 pounds.