Civilian worker killed in fall from mast of ‘Old Ironsides’ material

BOSTON (AP) – A civilian employee of the U.S. Navy fell about 70 feet and died while preparing the historic USS Constitution for its July 4 Boston Harbor turnaround.

The man fell from the ship’s main mast to its top deck around 12:10 p.m. on Wednesday, said Petty Officer Matt Chabe.

The employee, identified by his son as John C. Monaghan Jr., 56, of Windham, N.H., worked in the ship’s maintenance and repair facility for the Naval Historical Center in Boston, Chabe said.

Monaghan was performing routine maintenance on the Constitution’s mast and rigging for the holiday weekend. The Constitution is annually taken out into Boston Harbor and returned to its berth facing the opposite direction.

Two unidentified people performed CPR on the Monaghan after the fall, but the worker’s injuries were ultimately fatal.

He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

His son, Ross Monaghan, 26, told The Boston Globe that his father left an engineering job to work on square-rigged ships, and loved his new vocation.

Chabe says Monaghan was wearing proper safety equipment, including a harness and a hard hat.

Several agencies are investigating the cause.

The Constitution, known as “Old Ironsides,” is the oldest commissioned ship afloat in the world, but is used mainly as a museum.