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Rescue Boat Maneuvers End with Crew Injury
Two crew members are seriously injured and a third died after a wire rope used to raise and lower a rescue boat parted, letting the boat free-fall about 42-feet into the water below.
The rescue boat maneuvers were performed by four crew members with three in the boat while the fourth worked the winch. After lowering and raising the boat several time, a wire rope rigged through the hook, snapped.
Investigations after the accident found that the wire rope had less tensile strength than was recommended, the automatic shutdown limit switch on the winch was defective, and that the wire rope was corroded at the failure point even though it was properly coated with heavy grease.
To prevent this type of accident, it’s recommended that boat lowering equipment is always rigged with wire that meets or exceeds the specifications of the manufacturer, that wire ropes are treated to resist corrosion with the use of special penetrating oils that can protect the core of the rope while allowing for visual inspections.
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