THE mother of a youngster who was hurt while boarding the Manannan has accused Steam Packet bosses of playing down the incident.
A full review is being carried out into the accident, which took place as the fastcraft was being boarded at Dublin a week last Wednesday – and the Steam Packet has apologised to the family involved.
But that hasn’t impressed Anita Ogle, whose four-year-old daughter Hollie was the girl who was injured.
The Steam Packet said the girl had not been badly hurt and had simply tripped on the hinges, the family having not boarded via the correct designated access. But Hollie’s mum said from the family’s home in Thomas Keig Road, Willaston: ‘I’m cross with the Steam Packet as they are playing this down.
‘My daughter didn’t trip – her whole foot slipped through a gap.
‘Her leg was dangling down with the water below. I had to pull her out. She was really upset – she was screaming. This could have been very serious.
‘Hollie wasn’t badly hurt but her leg was grazed all the way up. She was lucky – anyone smaller could have been seriously injured.’
Miss Ogle said the Steam Packet had got the location of the accident wrong. It had not happened by the hinges of the stern ramp, as the company maintained, but at the point where it meets the ramp from the quayside.
She explained that the family had been returning from Ireland to see her mother, who lives in Galway – a trip they do frequently as she also has a sister living in Belfast.
With her 15-month-old son Lewis in a pushchair and Hollie by her side, she said a crew member had directed her to the lift on the port side of the boat.
But she insisted other passengers had walked up the ramp to get to the lift.
In its statement, the Steam Packet said: ‘The passengers concerned required access to the lift on the port side of the vessel. A crew member directed these passengers towards the lift but appears not to have made it clear that the passengers should have first boarded the vessel at the designated foot passenger access point. The young child then tripped over a stern ramp hinge.’
It added the company had contacted the passengers and had undertaken a full review. The statement went on: ‘Additional measures to ensure all foot passengers board the vessel via the designated area have been implemented.’