Witness appeal follows fatal ferry fall

Witness appeal follows fatal ferry fall

INVESTIGATION: The ferry Barfleur in port

HEARING: Coroner Sherriff Payne

First published in News
Last updated
by

A WOMAN died last week after falling from a flight of stairs during a cross-channel ferry crossing.

And officials from the coroner’s office have taken the unusual step of asking any witnesses to come forward with information.

The inquest into the death of Rita Melvin, of West Moors Road, Ferndown, was opened and adjourned at Bournemouth Coroner Court on Thursday.

Coroner for Dorset, Sheriff Payne, was told the 70-year-old had fallen down stairs on the Barfleur, a Brittany Ferries vessel travelling from Cherbourg, at around 10.50pm on April 10 as it neared Poole.

“A post-mortem of her body, conducted by pathologist Dr Hussein, recorded subdural and intracerebral and midbrain haemorrhage due to a blunt trauma as the cause of death,” said Coroner’s officer Allan Young.

Brittany Ferries communications director Steve Tuckwell said Mrs Melvin had travelled from Cherbourg to Poole on the Barfleur on April 10 and was discovered lying on the floor.

“Unfortunately there were no witnesses as to how she fell,” he said.

“An ambulance was called which met her on arrival and she was accompanied by her husband to hospital.

A report was submitted to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

“We subsequently learnt from Mrs Melvin’s son, who came to the port to collect his parent’s car, that she passed away in hospital.

“He was met by our duty operations manager who provided him with assistance as well as offering our sincere condolences to the family for their sad loss,” he said.

Following the hearing Mr Young urged anyone who witnessed the fall or saw Mrs Melvin and her husband prior to the incident to get in touch.

“We don’t know what happened at this stage,” he said.

“If anyone saw her fall we would ask them to contact the coroner’s office.”

Mr Payne adjourned the inquest until July 3 to enable further investigations to be carried out.

Anyone with information is asked to call 01202 789154.

Comments (9)

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8:07am Sat 19 Apr 14

KLH says...

From a regular on Barfleur my condolences to the family and friends of the lady. May she rest in peace.
From a regular on Barfleur my condolences to the family and friends of the lady. May she rest in peace. KLH
  • Score: 20

9:50am Sat 19 Apr 14

Upkeep says...

That's not called for Cosmic.
That's not called for Cosmic. Upkeep
  • Score: 20

10:37am Sat 19 Apr 14

Hawkstone says...

Very sad for all concerned. It is not made clear which stairs she fell from. We travelled on the Barfleur on the 14th of April and there were many safety announcements asking passengers not to go the garage area until told.
Very sad for all concerned. It is not made clear which stairs she fell from. We travelled on the Barfleur on the 14th of April and there were many safety announcements asking passengers not to go the garage area until told. Hawkstone
  • Score: 4

11:07am Sat 19 Apr 14

Gingertree says...

Its not unusual for 70 year olds to fall sometimes I feel sorry for those left behind but why do people always need someone to blame
Its not unusual for 70 year olds to fall sometimes I feel sorry for those left behind but why do people always need someone to blame Gingertree
  • Score: 14

1:07pm Sat 19 Apr 14

elfinia says...

Very sad story. Sincere condolences to her family.
Very sad story. Sincere condolences to her family. elfinia
  • Score: 6

8:14pm Sat 19 Apr 14

KLH says...

Be even better if you could mouse over the thumbs and see who has voted up or down!
Be even better if you could mouse over the thumbs and see who has voted up or down! KLH
  • Score: -2

4:45am Sun 20 Apr 14

misplacedspaniard says...

Gingertree wrote:
Its not unusual for 70 year olds to fall sometimes I feel sorry for those left behind but why do people always need someone to blame
My sincere condolences to the family first and foremost.

I'm sorry but I have to agree with gingertree. I see the older generation falling over a lot. Some people get unsteady on their feet if they are elderly or suffer with neurological problems.

I cannot help thinking that the family are trying to blame the ferry company because it happened on one of their vessels. I'm sure the company is made to fill out heaps of paperwork due to these ambulance chasing lawyers.

I know sometimes when you are grieving you feel anger and want to blame someone but please try to look at things objectively. Unless someone pushed them it was just an unfortunate accident.
[quote][p][bold]Gingertree[/bold] wrote: Its not unusual for 70 year olds to fall sometimes I feel sorry for those left behind but why do people always need someone to blame[/p][/quote]My sincere condolences to the family first and foremost. I'm sorry but I have to agree with gingertree. I see the older generation falling over a lot. Some people get unsteady on their feet if they are elderly or suffer with neurological problems. I cannot help thinking that the family are trying to blame the ferry company because it happened on one of their vessels. I'm sure the company is made to fill out heaps of paperwork due to these ambulance chasing lawyers. I know sometimes when you are grieving you feel anger and want to blame someone but please try to look at things objectively. Unless someone pushed them it was just an unfortunate accident. misplacedspaniard
  • Score: 3

8:59am Sun 20 Apr 14

KLH says...

misplacedspaniard wrote:
Gingertree wrote:
Its not unusual for 70 year olds to fall sometimes I feel sorry for those left behind but why do people always need someone to blame
My sincere condolences to the family first and foremost.

I'm sorry but I have to agree with gingertree. I see the older generation falling over a lot. Some people get unsteady on their feet if they are elderly or suffer with neurological problems.

I cannot help thinking that the family are trying to blame the ferry company because it happened on one of their vessels. I'm sure the company is made to fill out heaps of paperwork due to these ambulance chasing lawyers.

I know sometimes when you are grieving you feel anger and want to blame someone but please try to look at things objectively. Unless someone pushed them it was just an unfortunate accident.
It probably was an accident, I travel regularly on the ferry myself, and she is a very stable, comfortable ship. Eve. When docking when you may expect a few bumps you hardly feel anything. One of the most comfortable ships to travel on she is so stable., a brilliant seakeeper.

I don't think it would be fair to blame the ferry company, these things happen, I have nearly slipped and fallen on ships myself over the years, I would see it as no different to slipping on stairs at home, an accident, both could kill, and in an elderly person the likelihood of a fatality is higher. Each person is different and some people have difficulties with balance and some people don't have as good sea legs as others, all down to the individual. Barfleur has a lift from the car deck and anyone with mobilty problems is graciously helped, they only need to ask. I have witnessed the superb way Brittany Ferries crew help infirm people, they are excellent and are one of the safest companies to travel with.
[quote][p][bold]misplacedspaniard[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Gingertree[/bold] wrote: Its not unusual for 70 year olds to fall sometimes I feel sorry for those left behind but why do people always need someone to blame[/p][/quote]My sincere condolences to the family first and foremost. I'm sorry but I have to agree with gingertree. I see the older generation falling over a lot. Some people get unsteady on their feet if they are elderly or suffer with neurological problems. I cannot help thinking that the family are trying to blame the ferry company because it happened on one of their vessels. I'm sure the company is made to fill out heaps of paperwork due to these ambulance chasing lawyers. I know sometimes when you are grieving you feel anger and want to blame someone but please try to look at things objectively. Unless someone pushed them it was just an unfortunate accident.[/p][/quote]It probably was an accident, I travel regularly on the ferry myself, and she is a very stable, comfortable ship. Eve. When docking when you may expect a few bumps you hardly feel anything. One of the most comfortable ships to travel on she is so stable., a brilliant seakeeper. I don't think it would be fair to blame the ferry company, these things happen, I have nearly slipped and fallen on ships myself over the years, I would see it as no different to slipping on stairs at home, an accident, both could kill, and in an elderly person the likelihood of a fatality is higher. Each person is different and some people have difficulties with balance and some people don't have as good sea legs as others, all down to the individual. Barfleur has a lift from the car deck and anyone with mobilty problems is graciously helped, they only need to ask. I have witnessed the superb way Brittany Ferries crew help infirm people, they are excellent and are one of the safest companies to travel with. KLH
  • Score: 5

9:42am Mon 21 Apr 14

TheDistrict says...

I cannot see anywhere, where the family are blaming Brittany Ferries or the Barfleur. Even when the son came to pick up the car, he infomred the staff that she had passed away, which I would have thought would be far from their minds if they were seeking some sort of law matter.

I agree with other regular travellers of the Barfleur. We too travel 3 to 5 times a year on this ferry, and have always found it a very steady, and stable ship. Therefore, I imagine that this was an accident, and will be treated as such.

Our condolences to the family.
I cannot see anywhere, where the family are blaming Brittany Ferries or the Barfleur. Even when the son came to pick up the car, he infomred the staff that she had passed away, which I would have thought would be far from their minds if they were seeking some sort of law matter. I agree with other regular travellers of the Barfleur. We too travel 3 to 5 times a year on this ferry, and have always found it a very steady, and stable ship. Therefore, I imagine that this was an accident, and will be treated as such. Our condolences to the family. TheDistrict
  • Score: 1

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