Thursday, April 20, 2006

Filipino Sailor Dies In Sea Accident

A Filipino sailor has died in a Melbourne hospital after a wave swept over the bow of his ship smashing him and a shipmate into its superstructure off Victoria's south-west coast. The two seamen were evacuated in rough seas by air ambulance from the Cypriot-registered bulk carrier Aristagoras in the Southern Ocean, nine kilometres off Portland, and flown to The Alfred hospital in Melbourne. The dead man, who was 45, suffered extensive head, chest and leg injuries, and paramedics performed CPR on him on the ship before the mercy flight. His 29-year-old Filipino crewmate suffered a broken leg. The helicopter flew from Melbourne and landed on the deck of the ship shortly before 5pm (AEST) on Wednesday. A member of the air ambulance team, Leading Senior Constable Trevor Rim, said his aircraft landed on the deck in rough conditions. "We had to actually have the aircraft tied down to the ship... because of the swell, which had increased," he told reporters.
Bulk Carrier Aristagoras
"Once we got (the patients) loaded on, we removed the ropes, had the ship pointed into the wind and managed to take off, again into another storm. "You'd like a day like today when you can see what you are flying into, but we had a rain storm... "We had been running around and (we got) a bit of condensation inside the aircraft as we took off... and because we had a crane on either side of us, you couldn't manoeuvre on the deck. "It was basically a situation of the pilot having to bring the aircraft just off the deck and depart over the side of the ship." The ship was taking coal from Port Kembla to India when the accident happened. "Apparently there was a wave that came across the bow of the ship and these two sailors were taken by that wave and basically slammed into the structure of the ship," Sen-Constable Rim said. It was believed the waves crossed the bow of the ship because it was fully laden and low in the water. The men arrived at The Alfred hospital about 8.20pm on Thursday night (AEST). The coroner will investigate the man's death.

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