Edinburgh Leith docks incident: Worker injured from tipped Petrel ship in Edinburgh speaks out for first time
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One of the 35 people injured when a ship tipped over in a Leith dry dock has spoken out about the incident for the first time. Constantin Pogor, who is still being treated for his injuries after the RV petrel toppled on its side in high winds last month, said he had found himself "flying from one side of the bridge to the other" before being knocked unconscious when he hit a metal beam.
Now owned by the US Navy, the ship was left leaning at a 45-degree angle in the dry dock after the ‘terrifying’ incident when the vessel became dislodged on Wednesday 22 March and tilted towards the dock. Mr Pogor, a Romanian national who was working on the Petrel, suffered a dislocated elbow and fractured pelvis.
Recently released from hospital, the 48-year-old said: “I heard a loud noise, felt movement and I just had this reflex reaction to try and hold onto something but I didn’t get to grab onto anything. I flew from one side of the bridge to the other and landed on my right side and hit my ribs on a metal beam. I must have passed out because I remember just sort of coming to – that’s when I realised my elbow was dislodged.
“A colleague then tried to move me – it was realty painful and that’s when I realised that although I could move my legs, something was wrong in my hip. I still don’t even know what actually happened that day to cause the ship to fall. I know Dales and HSE are involved in some kind of investigation and I’ve now sought my own lawyers to investigate independently on my behalf too and I think there’s a lot of other people onboard who’ve done the same. But I want to shed light on what happened to me just so people back home know I’m relatively okay. It was scary at the time – especially when you’re not able to speak the same language. But I’m being looked after now, have a translator and I’m focused on my recovery.”
A total of 21 people had been taken by ambulance to hospitals in Edinburgh and Fife, with a further two making their own way to hospital and a further 12 being treated and discharged at the scene. Five of those later attended hospital themselves. It’s still not confirmed what caused the horror incident – but one expert has said winds are unlikely to have caused the 3,000-tonne vessel to capsize.
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. 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.
A Digby Brown spokesperson said: “We can confirm we are assisting a number of injured people affected by the Leith docks incident. Our enquiries are at an early stage so we cannot comment further on the specifics however we will continue to support and advise all affected people.”
Dales Marine declined to comment.
A HSE spokesperson said: “A HSE team is continuing to work with Police Scotland on the ongoing investigation of this incident.”