Worker sues ship owner after seeing own leg severed

Kelly Holleran Jun. 14, 2010, 8:47am

A Beaumont man claims he watched his leg be ripped from his body as he attempted to secure a boat to an offshore drilling platform.

Glenn Gunnlaugsson filed a lawsuit June 4 in Jefferson County District Court against Neches Gulf Marine.

The 52-year-old Gunnlaugsson claims he worked as a deck hand on the boat M/V San Jacinto, owned by Neches Gulf Marine, on April 9 when the incident occurred.

After securing one of the boat's lines to the platform, Gunnlaugsson stood holding another line waiting for further instructions as to how the boat should be secured to the platform, according to the complaint.

"During the process, Plaintiff was thrown into the mooring line and entangled in it," the suit states. "When the mooring line became taught, Plaintiff's right leg was caught in the mooring line and severed just below the knee. Plaintiff actually watched his leg while still in his rubber boot be thrown across the vessel.

"After it was ripped from his body, Plaintiff then had to crawl across the deck of the vessel, bleeding profusely, in shock, to the Pilot House to seek assistance as he was the only member of the crew on the deck. Finally, just before passing out, he was helped below to the galley area where an improvised tourniquet was secured to the remaining stump of his right leg."

Because of the incident, Gunnlaugsson suffered great physical and mental pain, endured severe injuries and remains unable to function as a normal 52 year old, the complaint says.

Gunnlaugsson blames Neches Gulf Marine for his injuries, saying the company negligently failed to take reasonable precautions for his injuries, failed to provide a reasonable and safe place for Gunnlaugsson to work and failed to provide appropriate medical care.

In his complaint, Gunnlaugsson seeks a judgment within the jurisdictional limits of Jefferson County District Court, plus pre-judgment interest at the maximum rate allowed by law, post-judgment interest at the legal rate, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Stephen A. Taggart of Beaumont will be representing him.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court.

Jefferson County District Court case number: D187-015.

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