Woman Dies in 60-Foot Fall From Mast of Tall Ship

Police are investigating death of volunteer on Galveston ship
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2022 12:37 PM CST
Volunteer Falls to Her Death on Texas Tall Ship
The masts of the 1877 tall ship Elissa rise behind the gates of the Galveston Historic Seaport on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022.   (Stuart Villanueva/The Galveston County Daily News via AP)

Tragedy on a tall ship: A woman fell 60 feet to her death in front of horrified tourists at the historic Elissa ship in Galveston on Saturday. Authorities say the 58-year-old woman was one of the volunteers who maintain the tall ship at a seaport museum, KTRK reports. Port of Galveston police chief Kenneth Brown says the woman was wearing a safety harness and the death appears to have been a horrible accident. He says the woman somehow became unclipped from safety lines on the ship's mast. "She was wearing her fall protection harness and on those harnesses you're supposed to have two points of contact as you're moving from one place to the other," Brown tells the Galveston County Daily News.

"You always keep one connected," the chief says. "You disconnect one and then you connect it elsewhere before you unhook the other one so you can move." He says the woman apparently slipped and fell while she was moving from one location to another, and it's not clear why she wasn't double-clipped in. Police are investigating the death. The Daily News notes that a training class involving sail rigging was scheduled for Saturday. The Elissa, whose highest mast is 99 feet tall, was built in 1877. It was bought from a scrapyard in Greece in 1978 and brought to Galveston, where it became a floating museum after a four-year restoration project. (More Galveston stories.)

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