A FORKLIFT operator has lost his job after careering into a cruise ship passenger who had disembarked at Leith during an ocean tour.
Thomas McNab, 56, narrowly avoided crushing the holidaymaker who only received cuts to his head and elbow thanks to fellow passengers who screamed to the driver to stop.
The victim needed 13 stitches to a cut above his left eyebrow that was 1.5cm deep and 7cm long.
At Edinburgh Sheriff Court this week, NcNab admitted driving without due care and attention and being unfit to drive through drink at Port of Leith on August 18 last year.
The court heard that McNab’s line of sight had been obscured by the large container he was moving.
The passenger – Henry Powell – had been making his way to the terminal at Port of Leith’s Cruise Liner Pier when he was struck by the container and knocked to the ground.
Fiscal depute Bruce McCrossan told how McNab had been working at the port as a truck driver and was moving containers when the accident occurred.
“As he moved forward his vision was blocked by a container he was transporting,” he said. “At this point, he drove into Mr Powell, resulting in him cutting his face.
“The accused didn’t notice he was driving into Mr Powell. He kept on driving and went over him.”
Mr McCrossan added: “Thankfully for both the accused and the complainer there was some clearance between the vehicle and the ground underneath. So he didn’t completely crush him.
“Another passenger saw this and shouted at the driver. The victim was under the container, not under the wheels.”
Staff from the cruise ship ran to the victim to help, while McNab was described as “horrifed” at what he had done.
The incident happened at around 9am, but McNab was not arrested until nearly midday. A breath sample revealed 45 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 mililitres of breath, when the legal limit at the time was 35 microgrammes.
The court heard that McNab – who had worked at the docks for 25 years – lost his job after the incident, which would have an impact on his pension.
He is understood to have been drinking the night before the crash.
Sheriff Nigel Ross handed McNab, of Cadiz Street, Leith, an interim driving ban and said he would sentence him next month.
A spokesman for his former employer Forth Ports, which welcomes tens of thousands of cruise passengers to the port every year, said the injured passenger had received an apology.
The spokesman added: “We take the safety of our cruise customers very seriously and we expressed our regret to the passenger involved at the time this incident occurred.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment further on this as it continues through the legal process.”
McNab was unavailable for comment last night.