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Tripping on a Threshold

A lady passenger aboard a cruise ship was walking in the proximity of the Purser's desk, in a "Public Space" (interior passageway), when she tripped and fell to the floor hitting also a fire control door, sustaining serious injuries. The fall was caused by tripping on a large metallic fire screen door threshold, which was protruding substantially above the carpeted floor

The accident occurred on Deck 4, at the forward end of the Main Entrance to the passenger's accommodations close to the Purser's office.

The Main Entrance is located about midship (½ of the length of the vessel), and is the equivalent of the lobby of a large hotel. It has a two story Crystal Fountain and is close to boutiques, shops, beauty parlor and restaurants, therefore, this area has a large volume of traffic at all times. It has 4 elevators and stairs in the proximity, both forward and aft of the Main Entrance. It is also close to the chief Purser's office, Hotel Director's office, Cruise Director's office and other administrative personnel oh the vessel.

A threshold or doorsill is normally defined as the flat, horizontal item, plank, timber, metal, stone or other material lying under a door that forms the bottom of a doorway.

In the case under consideration, the threshold was renamed "saddle" by some of the vessel's personnel probably in view of its dimensions and shape.

In the "Cruise Line - Passenger - Illness or Injury Report", the accident was described by the injured passenger as follows: "I was walking from Crystal Court to go to the elevator (pass the beauty salon)". "I fell as a result of the saddle in between the Crystal Court and my destination."

Basic Characteristics Of The Cruise Ship

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Hector Pazos, is a Naval Architect, Marine Engineer and a Registered Mechanical Engineer and has been engaged in Accident Investigation/Reconstruction for more than 40 years. He has been retained as an Expert Witness in over 1,200 Maritime cases, related to both commercial vessels and pleasure crafts, for both defense and plaintiff.

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