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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Barrow coast windfarm ship worker plunged five decks to death

A 26-YEAR-OLD man stationed on a floating hotel off the Furness coast fell 20 metres to his death while onboard the ship, an inquest has heard.

Aleksijs Kuznecovs had been just two days into his shift as a motorman on MS Wind Perfection at Walney Offshore Windfarm when he plunged from the highest point on the vessel to the thick steel base of deck five below.

A jury, assembled for the hearing at County Hall in Kendal yesterday, heard the Latvian national should have been working in the engine room at the time of his death on March 1.

No-one had seen him go to deck 10 – known as “Monkey Island” – before the incident took place, the court was told, although the third captain had heard a shout from his post on the bridge before his body was found.

Mr Kuznecovs was airlifted to the Royal Preston Hospital but was pronounced dead by medics at the hospital.

A post mortem revealed the cause of his death was serious head injuries.

Detective Constable Wayne Dixon, stationed at Barrow, said the engineer, who worked on the ship which provides accommodation for the Dong-owned windfarm’s staff, was well-liked by his colleagues and that there was no evidence to suggest a reason or motive for the incident.

“No-one had a bad word to say about him,” DC Dixon added.

The jury was told the barrier on Monkey Island was chest height, that climbing over would have taken considerable effort and that sea conditions had been calm.

Mr Kuznecovs had returned from a holiday to Cyprus during his shore leave, the hearing was told, but his luggage had been delayed by 24 hours after being mislaid at the airport.

Chief Inspector Bob Qazi told the inquest that a number of scenarios had been considered during the investigation into the death.

He said: “It’s not an exact science. It was a very difficult investigation because of the logistics of it being 12 miles off shore. We could never discount a ship-wide conspiracy but that would be really stretching things to the nth degree.”

Upon agreeing unanimously to record an open verdict, the jury chairman said: “We do not know the reason for Aleksejs Kuznecovs fall.”

South Cumbria coroner, Mr Ian Smith, said: “I am sure that is the right decision to have come to. It is an open verdict. We just don’t know what the cause was.”

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