An incident where a US Navy vessel toppled over at an Edinburgh dry dock is "unlikely" to have been caused by high winds, a marine expert has said Dr Iraklis Lazakis, from Strathclyde University's department of marine architecture, said it was "very unusual for such accidents to happen".

Thirty-five people were hurt when the research vessel Petrel dislodged from its holding at Imperial Dock, Leith.Ten are still being treated in hospital after Wednesday morning's incident. NHS Lothian said 23 people had been taken to hospital, some with serious injuries, and 12 others were treated at the dockyard, run by Dales Marine Services.

The Health and Safety Executive said inspectors would visit the site later to begin an investigation, working with Police Scotland. Dr Lazakis told BBC Scotland he was surprised that the 3,000-tonne vessel was able to become dislodged."It's very, very unusual for such accidents to happen," he told The Nine programme."I've never come across myself any such accidents, being involved in a number of dry dockings throughout the world, as well as through my academic career. No such thing has happened before."

Gusts of up to 38mph (61km/h) were recorded inland from the dockyard at Gogarbank at 08:00, according to Met Office data. But Mr Lazakis did not expect wind to be the cause of the incident."The dry dock is like a dug-up big ditch or shelf where the ship sits down with all its structure and weight," he added. "So it might have been unlikely just to be tipped over by the wind. "It's something that really needs to be investigated very, very thoroughly in order to make sure what was the original cause of the whole accident, but I have to say it is a very, very unusual thing to happen within a dry dock."

A major incident was declared after emergency crews were called to the dockyard at about 08:30. NHS Lothian said 15 patients were taken to Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (RIE) by ambulance with another two attending themselves. Four were also taken to Western General Hospital (WGH) and two to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy, Fife. Of the 17 people treated at the RIE, nine have been discharged and eight are still in hospital, some with serious injuries. The four patients at the WGH are awaiting discharge. The two patients treated in Fife remain in hospital.

The US Consulate thanked emergency services for their "prompt response" and said it was offering support to US citizens who were involved.

The 76m (250ft) Petrel was purchased by the United States Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center since October 2022, and operated by Oceaneering International.The vessel was previously owned by the estate of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. It was placed into long-term moorage in 2020 as a result of "operation challenges" during the Covid pandemic, and has not been used since.

A US Navy spokeswoman said: "We continue to communicate with our contacts at the scene in order to understand what occurred, the actions being taken, and the long-term impacts. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured and their families, with hopes for a quick and full recovery."A Dales Marine Services spokesperson added: "We can confirm that all those on board and at the facility have been accounted for and our priority is to ensure the wellbeing of all who have been affected."

Source : BBC News