Humber pilot dies in fall while boarding vessel

A Humber pilot who died while attempting to board a ship in the estuary has been named as Francisco Galia.

The tragic accident happened on Sunday (8 January 2023) when Galia fell from a rope ladder as he tried to board the vessel, bound for King George Dock in Hull.

Rescue attempts were made by colleagues and Humber Coastguard, including a second pilot entering the water.

According to the BBC, Galia was airlifted to hospital but later died.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is investigating the incident, which happened 2.5 miles (4km) east of Spurn Point.

An Associated British Ports (ABP) employee told the BBC that Galia, an Italian national living in Hull, had planned to retire shortly.

“As the pilot climbed the ladder, and at about half way, he lost his grip, falling backwards. It’s believed he banged his head, and then entered the water. The remaining pilots and deck crew from the pilot launch were able to maintain sight of the casualty and within a minute had the casualty in a ‘matesaver’ pole,” says the source. “One of the remaining pilots bravely entered the water to hold Franco’s head clear of the water.”

The second pilot was treated for minor injuries, including mild hypothermia, the source added.

MAIB has begun an investigation into the fall, says a spokesperson. A team of MAIB inspectors and technical staff were deployed to the accident site on Sunday and are in the process of gathering evidence to understand the circumstances that led to this tragic accident. The purpose of MAIB’s investigation is to improve safety and where lessons can be learnt, recommendations will be made to prevent reoccurrence.

Image courtesy of ABP.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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