Leith docks major incident: Seven people remain in hospital after US navy ship toppled in Leith dry dock

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Seven remain in hospital and five who were discharged at the scene have also since attended the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

Medics have confirmed seven people remain in hospital after boat toppled in ‘terrifying’ incident at Leith docks when the RV petrel toppled on its side in high winds.

Five are in Edinburgh while a further two who were taken to Fife also remain in hospital.

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Thirty three people were treated for injuries after the vessel became dislodged on Wednesday 22 March and tilted towards the dock, sparking a major emergency response.

Eyewitnesses described scary moment boat tip towards the dockEyewitnesses described scary moment boat tip towards the dock
Eyewitnesses described scary moment boat tip towards the dock

Twenty one were taken to hospital and twelve patients were treated and discharged at the scene. But five have since attended the RIE themselves, NHS Lothian confirmed.

Fifteen were transported to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh where five remained as of Saturday afternoon. It’s understood they have serious injuries. Four were taken to the

Western General Hospital who are all now discharged. Two were taken to Victoria Hospital in Kircaldy.

Michelle Carr, Service Director, NHS Lothian, said:

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“Five people remain in the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh following the major incident at Imperial Dock in Leith, and our thoughts continue to be with everyone affected by this incident.

“Outpatient appointments and elective surgeries have resumed today, and we will be in touch with everyone whose treatment was postponed to rearrange this as soon as possible.

“I want to thank our staff, partners and the public for their tremendous support and cooperation as we worked to maximise our capacity and deliver the best possible care.”

NHS Fife confirmed two patients remain in hospital.

It’s still not confirmed what caused the horror incident – but one expert has said winds are unlikely to have caused the 3000-tonne vessel to capsize.

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Dr Lazakis told The Nine programme "It's very, very unusual for such accidents to happen,"

"I've never come across myself any such accidents, being involved in a number of dry dockings throughout the world, as well as through my academic career. No such thing has happened before."

"The dry dock is like a dug-up big ditch or shelf where the ship sits down with all its structure and weight," he added.

"So it might have been unlikely just to be tipped over by the wind."

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"It's something that really needs to be investigated very, very thoroughly in order to make sure what was the original cause of the whole accident, but I have to say it is a very, very unusual thing to happen within a dry dock."

The Health and Safety Executive said inspectors would visit the site later to begin an investigation, working with Police Scotland.

Now owned by the US Navy, the ship was left leaning at a 45-degree angle in the dry dock following the incident.

The Petrel, a 76m (250ft) research vessel, was previously bought by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and was sold by his estate in 2022.

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It has been moored at Leith since September 3, 2020, due to “operational challenges” from the pandemic, according to a statement on the vessel’s social media page.

Dales Marine who operate the dry dock said “all those on board and at the facility have been accounted for” and they are “liaising with the emergency services and relevant authorities”.

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