City worker dies after falling into Sheepshead Bay sewage tank

Hope alive: Paramedics try to resucitate victim Michael Buffamante.
Brooklyn Daily
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A man drowned in a tank full of sewer water in Sheepshead Bay on Oct. 26.

Victim Michael Buffamante, 31 — a city contractor working at the wastewater treatment facility on Knapp Street — fell into a 35-foot-deep sewage tank at about 12:30 pm, officials said. Fire Department divers pulled Buffamante out of the murky water after a tough search and administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation, according to Fire Department Deputy Chief John Hodgens.

“They performed a difficult search,” he said. “Approximat­ely eight minutes later they pulled him out and got him out onto land and immediately CPR was started on him to try and get a pulse.”

Buffamante worked for Queens contractor Welkin Mechanical, which was working on upgrades to the plant, officials said. He was wearing safety equipment and the Department of Environmental Protection is investigating what went wrong, a rep said.

“According to on-site staff reports, the worker had been wearing personal protective equipment while performing the installati­on,” said agency spokesman Edward Timbers. “Additional workers are being interviewed now, and DEP will conduct a further review. DEP’s thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues.”

Paramedics took him to Coney Island Hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead, officials said.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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