Coroner concludes fisherman's death involving trawler door was 'unfortunate accident' that was 'preventable'

Coroner concludes fisherman's death involving trawler door was 'unfortunate accident' that was 'preventable'
File photo.

A verdict of accidental death was recorded after a 51-year-old fisherman on board a vessel in West Cork lost his life following an accident involving a trawler door.

Olounfumi Eugene McCauley, who was originally from Sierra Leone but was living in Gran Canaria, passed away from injuries he incurred following an accident on the Novo Alborada fishing vessel in Castletownbere in West on June 24, 2018.

A file was sent to the DPP in relation to the matter but no prosecution was taken in the case on health and safety grounds. The Novo Alborada is a Spanish-registered vessel.

The evidence of fisherman, Solomon Obery Binery, was read into evidence at Cork Coroner's Court.

He said the trawler door was being brought on to the vessel for maintenance and inspection. He said the plan was to use a wire to lift the door and another wire to pull it up to deck.

He said that the door slipped and fell into the water which pulled on the combination rope with speed with Mr McCauley being hit on the arms and neck by a hook and shackle.

Health and Safety Inspector David Barry told Cork Coroner's Court that Mr McCauley was one of three men who were carrying out a routine inspection of the starboard trawler doors. Such an inspection is carried out every four to six weeks.

A lifting operation was in place to bring a trawler door on to the vessel. However, Mr Barry said the trawler door fell into the sea pulling on the combined rope causing it to move at "lightning speed". Mr McCauley was hit in the process.

Paramedics rushed to assist the fisherman and he was transferred to Cork University Hospital (CUH) for treatment. He died three days later.

Mr Barry said the hook used for lifting shouldn't have been an open hook. He issued a recommendation that in such procedures a locked hook be used. He said Grip Latch B was also defective.

Mr Barry said that all foreign-registered trawlers are required to have risk assessments.

Assistant State Pathologist Dr Margaret Bolster carried out a post-mortem on the deceased at CUH. She said he incurred crush injuries consistent with being struck in the abdomen by a weight.

Coroner Philip Comyn said it was an "unfortunate accident" that was "in some ways preventable". He said that open hooks should not be used for an operation of this sort. Instead, lockable hooks should be the norm.

He stated that a grip latch also opened under stress. He emphasised that there should be a system for checking latches.

He also expressed concern that foreign-registered vessels often fail to have safety standards that comply with their Irish counterparts.

After a few minutes of deliberations, a verdict of accidental death was recorded in the case. Mr Comyn thanked the jury for their diligent work and said that he hoped that the recommendations would be acted upon.

Both the Coroner and Sgt Fergus Twomey extended their condolences to the family at their sad loss.

No family members were present in court. However, the relatives of the fisherman will be notified of the findings of the inquest. Messages of condolence will also be relayed to them.

More on this topic

Sister of One Direction star died after ‘perfect storm’ drugs cocktail, inquest hearsSister of One Direction star died after ‘perfect storm’ drugs cocktail, inquest hears

Deceased spoke of blocked chimneyDeceased spoke of blocked chimney

Corkman and brother of Harry Potter actress electrocuted on railway lines, inquest hearsCorkman and brother of Harry Potter actress electrocuted on railway lines, inquest hears

'What cost do we put on a life?' asks son of woman who died after ambulance delay'What cost do we put on a life?' asks son of woman who died after ambulance delay


More in this Section

One dead, three injured following two vehicle collision in Wexford One dead, three injured following two vehicle collision in Wexford

Beef producer has 'indefinitely postponed' a 'major €6.5m investment' as result of protestsBeef producer has 'indefinitely postponed' a 'major €6.5m investment' as result of protests

Public Services Card: Information retention has no impact on preventing welfare fraud - reportPublic Services Card: Information retention has no impact on preventing welfare fraud - report

Grandmother of missing Belfast woman who is feared dead makes plea for closureGrandmother of missing Belfast woman who is feared dead makes plea for closure


Lifestyle

Angela’s Ashes: The Musical at Cork Opera House brings some belly-laughs to Frank McCourt's tale, writes Marjorie Brennan.Perfect blend of belly laughs and emotion at Angela's Ashes: The Musical

In Currabinny, there is a large house right at the cliff’s edge, overlooking the whole of Cork Harbour.The Currabinny chefs cook with pears

It’s normal for children to occasionally worry but anxiety in a young person can develop into a crippling daily occurrence if it is not properly managed, writes Karen Murray.'Anxiety is a normal part of life': Understanding is key to helping children manage anxiety

This season textiles trend large, full of colour and exotic pattern, and applied in new ways to make a personal design statement from the living room to the bedroom, writes Carol O’CallaghanTextile trends that can help you make a personal design statement

More From The Irish Examiner