Probe opens into tragedy at ship quay

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A MAJOR investigation has been launched into the death of a dock worker who was killed in a 30ft fall on a ship.

The 59-year-old man was supervising the loading of large steel pipes into the hold of a vessel at Irvine’s Quay in Hartlepool.

He fell 30ft down a hatch on to the steel floor of the ship’s hold.

Police and Health and Safety Executive (HSE) officials have launched a joint investigation into the circumstances of the incident.

All operations were suspended at the docks yesterday as a mark of respect for the man, who has not yet been named.

A HSE spokesman said: “There is an investigation that has been launched and an inspector has been out to the site yesterday.

“It is a joint investigation that is being led by the police at this stage.

“We will firstly look at what caused the incident and speak to the companies involved and interview various witnesses.

“Once that has bene done we will put together an investigation report and decide whether or not there is a case for bringing a prosecution against anyone.”

Emergency services rushed to the Bright Ocean ship at Irvine’s Quay on Ferry Road at around 7.30pm on Sunday. A dock crane was used to winch the man to the shore, from where he was flown to the James Cook University Hospital by air ambulance.

Tragically, their efforts were in vain and he died shortly after arriving at the hospital.

He is believed to have suffered spinal, back and head injuries.

A spokesman for dock owners PD Ports, said: “We can confirm there has been a fatal incident at the port of Hartlepool.

“This is now subject to a major investigation and our thoughts and deepest sympathies at this time are with the man’s family and friends.

“As a mark of respect we suspended operations at the port and its related activities yesterday.”

Paramedics, police and three fire engines all attended the scene of the incident on Sunday night.