Wednesday, August 24, 2005

German sailor dies in diving accident off Gibraltar's coast

A sailor on board a German mine hunter died after a diving accident off Gibraltar on Monday.

The vessel arrived at the Rock late in the evening and the man was rushed to the Royal Naval Hospital, but medics there were unable to revive him.

German military officials are heading to Gibraltar to interview other crewmembers on the ship and formally investigate the circumstances of the death.

FGS HomburgThe ship, called the FGS Homburg, was en route to Crete where it was to join a NATO task force.

There were no firm details as to the nature of the accident or why diving operations were being carried off Gibraltar.

In a statement, Headquarters British Forces Gibraltar said only that the incident took place in “the Bay of Algeciras”.

Yesterday, efforts were being made to contact the sailor’s family in Germany.

“The German military chain is responding at the moment,” a military spokeswoman said.
“They are sending people out to talk to the crew and will carry out an investigation.”

The shocked crew of the German mine hunter also offered their thanks for the help and attention they received once in Gibraltar.

“I am very grateful for the swift and professional assistance made on our behalf during this difficult time,” said Lieutenant Commander Michael Gierahn.

The Convent and British Forces Gibraltar flew their flags at half-mast yesterday as a mark of respect for the dead sailor.


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