A construction worker repairing the 14th Street bridge fell 50 feet into the Potomac River and drowned early yesterday, despite a coworker's attempt to rescue him, according to D.C. police.

Police said Steven Martin Taylor, 34, of Lusby, Md., was attempting to fasten a support bolt when he plunged into the river at 2:45 a.m. Night-shift foreman Charles Smith dived in after Taylor but was unable to locate him, police said.

Taylor was one of the construction workers employed on the $5.9 million overhaul of the northern-most span, called the George Mason Bridge.

Taylor's body was recovered shortly afterward by D.C. harbor police. He was pronounced dead at George Washington University Hospital at 4 a.m. The D.C. medical examiner attributed the death to accidental drowning.

Police said they are investigating whether a safety harness worn by Taylor was properly fastened or might have been defective. Taylor's employer, the A.A. Beiro Construction Co., refused to comment on the incident.

An official of the D.C. public works department said yesterday the drowning was the first fatal accident at the site since work began in July. Worker Falls Off Bridge, Drowns

A construction worker repairing the 14th Street bridge fell 50 feet into the Potomac River and drowned early yesterday, despite a coworker's attempt to rescue him, according to D.C. police.

Police said Steven Martin Taylor, 34, of Lusby, Md., was attempting to fasten a support bolt when he plunged into the river at 2:45 a.m. Night-shift foreman Charles Smith dived in after Taylor but was unable to locate him, police said.

Taylor was one of the construction workers employed on the $5.9 million overhaul of the northern-most span, called the George Mason Bridge.

Taylor's body was recovered shortly afterward by D.C. harbor police. He was pronounced dead at George Washington University Hospital at 4 a.m. The D.C. medical examiner attributed the death to accidental drowning.

Police said they are investigating whether a safety harness worn by Taylor was properly fastened or might have been defective. Taylor's employer, the A.A. Beiro Construction Co., refused to comment on the incident.

An official of the D.C. public works department said yesterday the drowning was the first fatal accident at the site since work began in July.