George C. Schultz
Seaman Apprentice, United States Navy
Immediate Release January 28, 2004
Release No. 06-04
USS Monterey Sailor dies from Burns
NORFOLK, VIRGINIA – A Sailor stationed aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) has died from burn injuries sustained in an accident Monday night. Seaman Apprentice George C. Schultz, 20, died this evening at Sentara Norfolk General hospital with his parents by his side.
Schultz was undergoing treatment at the hospital’s Burn Trauma Unit for burns sustained after falling into a utility trench housing steam pipes at Naval Station Norfolk, around 9 p.m., Monday.
Schultz, a Round Hill, Virginia, native, enlisted in the Navy a year ago and had been stationed aboard Monterey since October.
Details concerning the accident are under investigation
by the Navy.
29 January 2004
George C. Schultz, 20, of Round Hill, Virginia, who was a Seaman Apprentice with the U.S. Navy, died January 28, 2004, in the Burn Trauma Unit at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, where he was being treated for burns suffered in an accident January 26, 2004.
The Navy reported that around 9 p.m., Schultz
fell into a utility trench that houses steam pipes at Naval Station Norfolk.
The trench is an open area where steam pipes from shore take hot water
to ships tied to the pier. According to WVEC News in Hampton, water at
the bottom of the 8-foot deep trench was estimated to be about 200 degrees.
The Navy is investigating the incident.
NORFOLK, VIRGINIA — Although Navy officials had been aware of a steam leak beneath a new pier for three months, they never classified the scalding vapors as a hazard to people walking near it or ordered emergency repairs.
Only after a sailor fell into a 6-foot-deep trench holding scalding water, suffering fatal burns over 80 percent of his body, did the Navy erect hand rails, lights and barriers and move to change the design of future piers.
This picture of events emerged from an investigator’s report of the January 26, 2004, incident, obtained by The Virginian-Pilot through a Freedom of Information Act request.
One of the last things Seaman Apprentice George C. Schultz, 20, of Round Hill , told rescuers who pulled him from the trench was that he got lost in the steam vapors while following a walkway along the lower level of the double-decker pier toward his ship.
He said that his glasses fogged up, he slipped on the ice and he could not stop himself from falling into the unguarded pit, holding water heated to more than 200 degrees.
A Chief Petty Officer who tried to help said Schultz told him he had been directed by a guard at the pier to take the lower, covered level to avoid ice and snow that had accumulated topside.
Schultz, who remained conscious while waiting for an ambulance, said then that he couldn’t feel anything below his belly.
He expressed concern , the chief said, that he may have lost the duty keys in the fall and that he was causing a scene. He also said he was upset that he was going to miss muster aboard his ship, the cruiser Monterey.
“The poor kid was almost apologetic,” said the unidentified chief in a statement to investigators. The chief’s name was withheld by Navy officials, citing privacy rights.
Schultz died January 28, 2004, two days after the accident.
The Navy investigator, whose identify also was withheld, said the Navy Public works Center and the Naval Facilities Engineering command have since begun an aggressive campaign to prevent a similar accident.
Guard rails and locked gates have been installed on the two existing piers – Pier 2, where the accident happened, and nearby Pier 6.
Public Works is revisiting its standard operating procedures to consider responding to future steam leaks in a timelier manner, the investigation stated.
A statement from an unidentified Public Works Center official noted that his department, which has gone from 550 employees in 1990 to 340, often takes longer to “get routine things fixed.”
While saying it “was a mistake” not to have fixed the steam leak immediately, the official also pointed out that designers and maintenance personnel “never anticipated that a sailor would be walking along the underside of the pier in that specific area.”
The 1,500-foot-long concrete pier initially cost $37 million and was part of a $500 million, 25-year project to replace all of the Navy’s piers in Norfolk. The first deck has a 9-foot ceiling to allow maintenance trucks to drive inside to service utilities . The second deck, which is about 21 feet above the water, is used by ship crews and supply vehicles.
Schultz had been in the Navy for about a year.
His death was in the line of duty and was not due to his own misconduct,
the report concluded.
February 5, 2004 -- George Christopher Schultz, 20, of Round Hill, died Jan. 28 at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Mr. Schultz was in the U.S. Navy serving aboard the USS Monterey in Norfolk. He was a 2002 graduate of Loudoun Valley High School.
He is survived by his parents Commander George W. Schultz and Caren E. Schultz of Round Hill; sisters Rebecca Schultz and Megan Schultz of Round Hill; and grandparents Dorothy Schultz of Sheboygan, Wisconsion, Loeva Keller and Lester Keller of Tucson, Arizona and Charles Bullis of Union Grove, Wisconsin.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 10 at Round Hill United Methodist Church. Interment will be at 2 p.m. at Arlington National Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be given to the
George Christopher Schultz Memorial Fund, c/o Round Hill United Methodist
Church, PO Box 51, Round Hill, Virginia 20142.