Three British sailors were admitted to hospital on Thursday (26 September) after a mishap in a world record tug-of-war contest in the Mediterranean port of Gibraltar.
SV Officer tying marker around hawser and giving start signal
SV Plymouth team pulling chain
CU Member of Portsmouth team
SV Plymouth team releases chain after winning
SV PAN Portsmouth team releases chain
SV Injured being attended (2 shots)
SV Sailor's leg being splinted
GV ZOOM INTO SV Sailors recovering
SV PAN Ambulance arriving on quayside
SV PAN Ambulances leaving quay
Initials BB/2307 JS/JB/BB/2320
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Background: Three British sailors were admitted to hospital on Thursday (26 September) after a mishap in a world record tug-of-war contest in the Mediterranean port of Gibraltar.
Two teams, each of three hundred sailors representing the Royal Navy Commands of Plymouth and Portsmouth, heaved on towing hawsers in a contest decided by the best of three pulls over 30 feet.
The accident occurred at the end of the first pull when the Plymouth team released the nylon towing hawser.
The hawser still had considerable tension, and it whipped back through the men.
Many were knocked down and the injury toll included one sailor with a broken leg and bruising, another with badly bruised ribs and a cut head and the most serious, a seaman with a broken pelvis and broken leg.
A Royal Navy Board of Inquiry is now studying the accident.
SYNOPSIS: The Chief of Naval Personnel and Second Sea lord, Admiral Williams, started the world record tug-of-war contest in Gibraltar on Thursday.
Teams of three hundred sailors each, representing the Royal Navy Commands of Plymouth and Portsmouth, took part in the contest for the best of three pulls on nylon towing hawsers. But when the Plymouth team released its chain after the first pull, it whipped back through the men.
The whiplash, which cut a swathe through the sailors, is believed to have been caused by a build-up of tension in the nylon hawser. Many sailors were injured, three of them seriously.
One suffered a broken pelvis and broken leg, another also had his leg broken, while a third suffered severe bruising to his ribs and a cut head. Others were treated for minor cuts, bruises and abrasions. Those seriously injured were taken by ambulance to the Royal Navy Hospital on Gibraltar. All are reported to be progressing well, although the seaman with the broken pelvis and leg faces a long time in hospital.
A Naval Board of Inquiry has been convened to investigate the accident. Its president is the captain of one of the ships whose men took art in the contest.