Thirty-five people have been injured after a 250ft ship once owned by the estate of Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen was today toppled over by strong winds.

Emergency services rushed to Imperial Dock in Leith, Edinburgh, after the research vessel RV Petrel, which was used to find historic shipwrecks, was blown from its holding this morning. 

Images posted on social media show the huge ship leaning at a 45-degree angle. 

NHS Lothian said 23 people were taken to hospital, as per the BBC, following the incident in Leith, Edinburgh, while a further 12 were treated and discharged at the scene. 

The ambulance service said most patients were taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, while others were taken to Western General Hospital and Victoria Hospital.

The Scottish Ambulance said it received a call at 8.29am today to attend an incident in Leith. 

It dispatched five ambulances, an air ambulance, three trauma teams, its special operations team (SORT), three Paramedic Response Units (PRU) and one patient transport vehicle.

Joseph Alesho, 39, was working near the entrance to the port when the emergency services arrived.

He said: ‘I heard all the sirens and then saw loads and loads of police, ambulances and fire engines rushing past. I’d say maybe 20 went past at once.

‘It was very worrying, I assumed someone had died because there were so many, and I knew it was something serious. This was probably at 8.30 so it must have been a very fast response.’

Another construction worker said: ‘It was unbelievable, I’ve never seen so many ambulances and fire engines in one go. It was really scary. There was a helicopter flying overhead and we were all wondering what was going on, it was like a nightmare.

‘It was really windy last night and even this morning when I arrived at work. It must have been terrifying for the people on board.

One delivery worker, who did not wish to be named, caught a glimpse of the boat at around 12pm when making a drop off.

He said: ‘It was just lying on its side in the dry dock, no smoke or fire or anything. It looked completely intact except for the fact it was lying on its side.

'It’s pretty concerning that something like this can happen. I know they said it was the wind, but it’s been windier than this before, so you do wonder what went wrong.’

A spokesperson for Forth Ports, which owns Leith docks, said: "We are aware of the incident at the facility of our tenant, Dales Marine Services, at the Port of Leith.

"We are providing Dales with any support we can today.

"We cannot comment any further as the incident response is being led by the emergency services.

Who was Paul Allen? 

Paul Gardner Allen was an American business magnate, computer programmer, researcher, investor, and philanthropist.

He co-founded Microsoft Corporation with childhood friend Bill Gates in 1975.

Tragically, he passed away in October 2018.

RV Petrel is a research vessel that was owned by Allen, which is dedicated to exploring the ocean depths. it was famous for locating numerous wrecks - including USS Indianapolis, Wasp and Hornet.

The ship - which has been moored in Leith since 2020 - is named after the sea bird petrel.

Allen's estate sold the boat last year.

"Our thoughts are with everyone involved in this incident."

Jacquie Campbell, chief officer of acute services at NHS Lothian, said earlier today: 'We're on standby to receive a number of patients at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh's A&E department following a major incident at Imperial Dock in Leith.

'We have been reviewing the current capacity at the RIE, with support from other sites, to prepare to accommodate these patients.

'Given the expected pressure on the site, we urge people not to attend A&E at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh unless it's an emergency.

'If you think you need urgent care, please contact your GP or call NHS 24 on 111 to seek advice. Thank you.'

The Scottish Government has said that it is activating resilience arrangements following the incident.

A spokesman added: 'We would request that the public follow advice to avoid the area to allow emergency service access.'

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said: 'At around 9.30am, March 22, Coastguard Rescue Teams from Fisherrow, South Queensferry and Kinghorn were sent to the scene. This is a multi-agency response, with the Scottish Ambulance Service and Scottish Fire and Rescue also in attendance.'

Leith councillor Adam McVey said the ship became dislodged in strong winds and he described the incident as 'terrifying' for those on board. 

He tweeted: 'Emergency services are responding to a major incident at Leith docks – a ship has been dislodged from its holding in strong winds.  Terrifying for those on board, my thoughts are with those who've been injured and hope everyone recovers quickly. Please avoid area.' 

According to the Sun, a source said the incident was 'extremely worrying'.

They said: 'Those injured have suffered various injuries, but as far as I am aware, non are in a life-threatening condition. 

'But everyone is very worried for the safety of those currently onboard.'

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: 'We were alerted at 8.43am on Wednesday to reports of an incident at Imperial Dock, Leith, Edinburgh.

'Operations control mobilised four appliances and a number of specialist resources. Crews currently remain in attendance.'

The coastguard also sent teams to the scene this morning. 

A spokesman added that it was 'a multi-agency response, with the Scottish Ambulance Service and Scottish Fire and Rescue also in attendance'.

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2023-03-22T11:24:31Z dg43tfdfdgfd