Three crew airlifted to hospital as freak wave hits vessel

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THREE offshore workers were airlifted to hospital yesterday after a freak wave hit their ship in a storm.

They were securing cargo on the storage offloading vessel Bleo Holm when the incident occurred, 50 miles north-east of Aberdeen.

The three were taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary by air ambulance but the extent of their injuries was not clear last night.

The vessel, owned by Talisman Energy (UK), had a crew of 70 on board.

A spokeswoman for the firm said: "We can confirm that four personnel have sustained injuries following an incident on board the Bleo Holm.

"All 70 people on board have been accounted for.

"The injuries were sustained after items broke free on the deck of the vessel during bad weather, with wind speeds in excess of 40 knots and a swell of nine metres.

"One person sustained minor injuries and has remained on board. Three personnel were airlifted onshore by helicopter for medical treatment."

Last year the firm admitted its safety procedures needed to be improved following the death of an employee on the same vessel on 6 January.

Matthew Grey, 59, of Darlington, suffered fatal injuries while fitting pipes in one of the cargo tanks.

Nick Walker, Talisman UK's vice-president, later admitted that some of its safety systems were not sufficiently robust.

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