Crewman seriously injured

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 08:00 22/11/2012

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A Chinese man on board a logging ship in Picton was taken to hospital with serious head injuries early yesterday after being hit on the head with a large crane hook.

The 28-year-old man was flown to Wairau Hospital, in Blenheim, and then to Hutt Hospital for surgery.

Ship's agent Southern Maritime Services director Bryce Fleming said the crewman was hit by the heavy hook when he was securing cranes on the Hope Star before starting work so the cranes would not swing around at sea.

Four cranes are fixed on the deck of the ship, with each crane capable of lifting about 30 tonnes, Mr Fleming said.

"It must have just swung and hit him."

The ship was docked at Waimahara Wharf in Shakespeare Bay, next to Picton Harbour, when the accident happened about 12.30am.

St John Ambulance team manager Rebecca Lee said the injured man had been taken by ambulance to Wairau Hospital about 1am.

Life Flight crewman Julian Burn said the man was then transferred to Hutt Hospital, near Wellington, by air ambulance about 4.30am.

Mr Fleming said the crewman had to have surgery on his head but the injury did not appear to be life threatening.

"It was just one of those things," Mr Fleming said. "Big machinery can be quite dangerous."

It would be at least three to four weeks before the man was well enough to fly home to China, he said.

Picton was the ship's first port in New Zealand after sailing from China.

It was the second accident in the past three weeks on a Southern Maritime Services ship, but there had not been an accident for two or three years before that, Mr Fleming said.

A Maritime New Zealand spokesman said an investigator was making preliminary inquiries into the incident.

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- The Marlborough Express

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