A woman was killed on Feb. 5 when she fell from the mast of a tall ship berthed at the Texas Seaport Museum in Galveston. The 58-year-old Nassau Bay resident was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency workers. The woman worked as a volunteer at the museum and was taking part in a training exercise on the ship at the time of the accident according to media reports. The incident is being investigated by the Galveston Police Department and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Safety harness was unclipped
The training exercise that the woman was taking part in involved climbing the mast and navigating the rigging of the tall ship Elissa. During these training exercises, participants are required to wear safety harnesses that have two points of attachment, and they are told to always keep one of them clipped as they move about in the rigging. Officials say the woman fell 35 feet to her death after she lost her footing while her safety harness was unclipped.
The investigation into the woman’s death will likely focus on the sequence of events that led to the accident and the amount of instruction she received before being allowed to climb the mast and explore the rigging. If investigators determine that the safety harness the woman was wearing was defective or the museum did not provide adequate training or oversight, the negligent party responsible could face a wrongful death lawsuit.
If a wrongful death lawsuit is filed in connection with this incident, the arguments will likely focus on how foreseeable the accident was and whether or not the steps taken to protect individuals taking part in training exercises were sufficient. If the preponderance of the evidence suggests that negligence played a role, the plaintiffs could be awarded compensatory damages.