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Family identifies victim as Aura Garcia

BOSTON —An East Boston woman walking across a Boston drawbridge was crushed to death Tuesday after an operator raising the bridge for a boat to pass heard her screams and lowered it, accidentally trapping her between the two plates, investigators said.

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The woman, identified by her family as Aura Garcia, 46,  was crossing the bridge around noon when a bridge operator, not aware that she was on the bridge, began raising it for the boat in the Chelsea River.

Garcia grabbed hold of one of the sides of the bridge and the operator immediately lowered it when he heard her scream, but she became trapped in between the plates and suffered massive trauma, police said.

“I couldn’t see her, but I could hear her,” witness Waldina Garcia said “She was screaming and screaming and screaming.”

Garcia, who had two children, was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators called her death on the Meridian Street Bridge, which connects Chelsea and East Boston, an accident.

The distraught bridge operator was taken to the hospital for evaluation, officials said.

Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Mayor Thomas Menino, said that the bridge operator was placed on unpaid leave pending results of the investigation. She described that as standard procedure.

Investigators said it wasn’t clear whether the woman began crossing the bridge after warning lights and alarms were activated.