Crews search for shipyards employee who fell into St. Johns River

Witness says he tried to throw rope to man in river

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Crews continue searching Monday for a 34-year-old shipyards employee who fell into the St. Johns River about 1 p.m. Sunday, police said.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, a witness at the North Florida Shipyards saw Atakorah Padmore working on an air pressure valve and later heard a loud noise.

The witness told police that when he looked up he saw Padmore in the river. He said he tried unsuccessfully several times to throw Padmore a rope.

Police described Padmore as black and wearing dark clothing.

Jacksonville Fire and Rescue, JSO Marine units and an air unit were helping in the search for Padmore, and the JSO Dive Team and homicide unit responded to the scene to investigate.

Padmore has been entered into the missing persons database, and police are investigating the incident as a possible drowning, according to a JSO report.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is also investigating, and an official said that inquiry could take weeks.

News4Jax checked OSHA records for North Florida Shipyards and found a complaint was filed in 2016 and several violations were found in 2017. None were related to a fall at the job site.

Padmore's family has not commented.

Padmore's supervisor said his company can't talk about the incident until the investigation is over.

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