Crew member died of crushed chest; injuries were underestimated

A crew member of the ER Athina – now sailing as Cho Supporter – who died after being crushed on the vessel off Aberdeen, Scotland, in 2012, was left waiting for a fishing boat to take him to hospital after his injuries were underestimated, an investigating Sherriff has concluded,

His chest became trapped between a rescue craft and a ship while at sea but the incident was not treated as a medical emergency, a Fatal Accident Inquiry has found.

The coastguard was not alerted to his condition by the captain of the ship, who contacted a fishing vessel to take him to hospital and did not ask for an ambulance. This resulted in a significant delay in Mr Kurida arriving at hospital.

The Croatian was aboard a fast rescue craft (FRC) with a colleague as the pair attempted to paint the ER Athina in the open sea after it suffered damage to its hull in Aberdeen harbour.

The swell of the sea caused the vessel and the fast rescue craft to crash together, trapping Mr. Kurida between the lifting frame of the FRC and the hull of the supply vessel.

It was suspected he may have fractured ribs but he remained conscious. Almost an hour later he was transferred to the Skua, a fishing boat, and taken to shore.

However, at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary his condition deteriorated quickly and he went into cardiac arrest. He died having arrived at hospital less than an hour before.

Sheriff Ian Wallace determined the cause of death as chest and abdominal crush injuries. A forensic pathologist found the accumulation of injuries sustained at the time of the accident were “not survivable”. The sheriff found a number of precautions that could have been taken that may have avoided the fatal accident.

He said that those responsible for operating merchant vessels in UK waters should have training, guidance and procedures in place to ensure appropriate responses to medical incidents of “uncertain severity”.

This included not carrying out the repairs while at open sea or using a painting platform if repairs were to go ahead.

Those responsible for operating merchant vessels in UK waters should have training, guidance and procedures in place to ensure appropriate responses to medical incidents of “uncertain severity”.