Man fell to death at Felixstowe port after 'slipping on ice'

A man fell 80ft to his death after probably slipping on a patch of ice at a Suffolk port, a report has found.

Jose Gonzalez, a 30-year-old Chilean national, was assisting with loading containers on the Tempanos boat at the Port of Felixstowe last December.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch report said there were no witnesses but it was "likely" that Mr Gonzalez slipped and fell from a hatch cover into the cargo hold.

He died of multiple injuries.

Mr Gonzalez had worked for South Shipmanagement for 11 years and the report said he was "well liked by his shipmates for his helpful nature and good leadership qualities".

Improved safety

Members of the crew had searched for him after he was not seen at breakfast and was not answering his radio.

Investigations immediately after the accident found that several safety barriers protecting the walkways between the holds were left open, but it was not thought Mr Gonzalez had fallen through one of them.

The report recommended that "greater effort" was needed from vessels and the port to improve safe working practices.

It advised Southern Shipmanagement to improve the standard of safety for its crew.

Hutchison Ports, which runs the Port of Felixstowe, was advised to ensure its container staff held safety meetings with visiting container vessel crews.

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