Man drowns while trying to retrieve lost keys from storm drain

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storm drainFIFE, Wash — A Fife man drowned in a storm drain Friday night while attempting to retrieve his lost keys, the Fife Police Department reported.

Patrick Lee Nielsen, 56, was trying to put trash into a trash compactor when he accidentally dropped his keys into a storm drain at 8 p.m. in the 2300 block of 62nd Avenue East. Nielsen removed the drain cover and tried to retrieve his keys, but he lost his balance and fell headfirst into the drain, police said.

The drain was three feet deep and filled with two feet of water.  The man’s head and upper body were underwater but his legs and feet were on the surface.

A tenant at Nielsen’s apartment complex discovered the victim and called 911. Police arrived on the scene and found him breathing, but he died after being transported to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma.

Fife police are investigating the incident.

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  • Tyler Collier

    The city of Fife should be sued to the largest extent of the law.Their complete disregard for public safety is the height of human stupidity.If Joe citizen had any apparatus whatsoever on his property that a child could open and fall into and drown or suffocate or hurt themselves in anyway shape or form he (Joe citizen) would be sitting in a jail cell facing negligent homicide for allowing such a deathtrap to exist.The steel grate should not be removable by anyone not possessing a special tool for removing it.If I were related to this person who died due to the gross misconduct of the city of Fife I would retain the best lawyer possible and tomorrow morning there would be the biggest lawsuit you can imagine forcing these retards to make these drains unremovable.

    • anon

      storm drains do not come off easily, they are heavy enough that a child could not get it off unassisted. A lawsuit would not help the situation it would only take funds from the city budget and tie up a lot of resources. It is my opinion that while this is sad he should have known better at 56, this man could have called for support in getting his keys back but did not. There were other options here for him, I strongly disagree that the city should be at fault for this.