A large Navy research vessel that once belonged to late Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen tipped over — injuring 33 people — and is stuck at a 45 degree angle

A general view at the scene after a ship tipped over at a 45-degree angle in the Imperial Dock area in Leith on March 22, 2023 in Leith, Scotland.
Police said the research vessel the 'Petrel' began to tilt to one side earlier this morning, after it became dislodged on a dry dock.Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
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  • A large research vessel tipped over at a dry dock in Scotland on Wednesday, leaving 33 injured.

  • The massive boat once belonged to Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen but is now owned by the US Navy.

  • Officials said gusty winds likely led to the boat becoming dislodged.

A large US Navy research vessel dislodged while sitting at a Scotland dry dock on Wednesday, partially tipping over and leaving 33 people injured.

Harrowing photos from the scene show the 250-foot boat, identified as the Research Vessel Petrel, sitting at a 45-degree angle after gusty winds seemingly knocked the ship loose from its holding at Imperial dock in Leith.

The accident garnered a fleet of emergency response services, including 12 ambulances, an air ambulance, three trauma teams, a special operations team, three paramedic response units, and three patient transport vehicles, a spokesperson with the Scottish Ambulance Services told Insider.

Twenty-one patients were transported to local hospitals, while an additional 12 patients were treated at the scene and later discharged, the spokesperson said.

The Edinburgh Police Division said its officers also responded to the incident, which took place around 8:30 a.m. local time. By 1:30 p.m., all casualties were confirmed and everyone was accounted for, police said.

There is no further risk to the public and police said an investigation will explore what exactly went wrong, according to authorities.

Deidre Brock, an MP who represents Edinburgh North and Leith, said in a tweet that "strong winds" had tipped the ship.

boat tipped over
Emergency services at Imperial Dock in Leith, Edinburgh, where a ship has become dislodged from its holding and is partially toppled over.Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Photos from the scene show the massive ship sitting tipped halfway over near the dock on Wednesday morning as emergency services removed injured people from the area.

The 3,000-ton ship was originally funded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who bought the then-offshore service vessel in 2016 and had it retrofitted to serve as an underwater research and exploration vessel. Allen hoped the boat would serve to scan the ocean's depths and locate historic shipwrecks and explore underwater ecosystems.

During its service years, the Petrel discovered several lost shipwrecks, including the USS Hornet and the USS Lexington, two significant US aircraft carriers that were sunk in World War II.

Allen, who was worth an estimated $20.3 billion, died in 2018 at the age of 65 following complications from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The Petrel was bought by the United States Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Canter in October 2022 and is operated by Oceaneering International, according to the BBC.

Naval Forces Europe did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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