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Dublin: 11 °C Thursday 24 April, 2014

Inquiry finds man died accidentally when he fell down stairwell of boat

It also found that a spring-loaded gate at the top of the stairwell could have prevented him from falling.

Ceol na Farraige, the boat which the man fell on and died.
Ceol na Farraige, the boat which the man fell on and died.

AN INVESTIGATION INTO the death of a man on board an Aran Islands passenger boat has found that his death was accidental.

The Marine Casualty Investigation Board’s inquiry into the death of James McLean, who died from head injuries he sustained when he fell down a stairwell on MV ‘Ceol na Farraige’, found that a spring-loaded gate at the top of the stairwell could have prevented him from falling.

Mr McLean worked as a chief engineer for the boat company. On the day of the accident, 1 July 2012, he was standing in the wheelhouse of the MV Ceol Na Farraige tallying  passengers as they left the ship. When it started raining, Mr McLean moved to a sheltered area where he could still see the passengers. However, he lost his balance and fell down the 11-step stairway, striking his head against the door at the bottom.

The emergency services were immediately alerted and he was airlifted to Galway hospital where he subsequently died two days later.

The MCIB’s investigation into the 73-year-old’s death found that recent modifications to the vessel meant there was nothing at the top of the stairwell to prevent someone from stepping into a gaping void and falling.

Since the accident, the owners fitted spring-loaded doors at the top of the stairwell, which will prevent anyone unintentionally stepping into the void in the future.

The MCIB found that Mr McLean died when he accidentally lost his footing when going to change his position.

The Board also noted that the owners have taken the necessary actions to prevent a similar incident occurring in the future. The MCIB concludes: “No further actions are required”.

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