Freak Accident in Antigua Brings Safety Reminders for Cruisers

A reportedly experienced Venezuelan cruiser visiting Antiqua in early March and a fellow sailor who came to her aid were seriously injured in a freak accident involving an electric winch. The woman was hoisting her husband up the mast using the electric winch instead of manually because of a recent shoulder surgery. When the electric winch wouldn’t shut off, she called for help. Somehow the woman became entangled in the halyard lines and got her left arm trapped in the winch. In an attempt to free her left hand, the woman’s right hand also became trapped. The first man to come to her aid could not help and called for further assistance. The second man on the scene, a Swiss sailor, got his fingers entangled in the winch in his efforts to aid the woman.

The winch eventually stopped on its own, and the woman’s husband was lowered to the deck without injury. The woman’s left hand was completely severed at the wrist, while her right hand was crushed, resulting in several broken bones. The good Samaritan who also became entangled severed eight of his fingers.

The two were rushed to Mount St. John’s Medical Center, where doctors attempted to reattach the severed hand and fingers. The woman was eventually transferred to a hospital in Miami, while the gentleman spent five days at the local hospital.

Thank you to a fellow cruiser on the scene who forwarded this tragic accident in an effort to spread the word that cruisers need to be vigilant even when doing routine tasks and everyone should be sure to review their MedEvac insurance in case they are far from good care.

Additional information sourced from the Antigua Observer.

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