Family Pleads to Resume Search for Missing Bridge Worker

The family of John Massas, 30, is asking the Coast Guard to resume the search for the Throgs Neck Bridge worker who fell into the water last week

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police divers searched the waters under the Throgs Neck Bridge for hours Friday after a construction worker fell off the span into the water, officials said. Roseanne Colletti reports. (Published Friday, Mar 30, 2012)

    The family of the construction worker who fell off the Throgs Neck Bridge last Friday is asking the authorities to resume the search for his remains.

    Thirty-year-old bridge painter John Massas was changing his harness the morning of March 30 when he apparently slipped and fell 100 feet down into the water below.

    Massas' sister Milagros Mota says the family is devastated and their grief is exacerbated because the body was never found.

    "The family just wants closure," said Mota. "We just want my brother, to lay him to rest. Both for us, his siblings, and his wife and his kids."

    The Coast Guard, along with the city's police and fire departments, searched for 14 hours that day but were unable to find Massas. They called off the search at around 9:30 p.m.

    "Maybe on a beautiful day like yesterday and today ... If they could just send divers out one more time," Mota said. "He had a harness on and he might be trapped and this is why he hasn't surfaced."

    The Coast Guard said crews searched 463 miles that day, a sizable span of water.

    The case is still open and boats on patrol are instructed to keep their eyes open for clues. Coast Guard investigators are sympathetic to the family's grief, but unless they find a clue that could help them figure out exactly where Massas may be, they will not resume an active search.

    The family has vowed not to give up. Massas' wife and three children say they are praying every day that they find his body and can plan a funeral. Massas' three brothers-in-law, who are enlisted members of the military, have rented kayaks to try and search for his body themselves.

    "He was a hard-working father and I just don't want him to be forgotten," said Mota. "I just don't want him to be left down there in the ocean if that's where he's at." 

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