UK

Four people rescued after fishing boat sinks

Oban RNLI lifeboat and a coastguard helicopter went to the scene.

The fishing vessel crew swam to the lifeboat when their boat sank
Fishermen swimming to lifeboat The fishing vessel crew swam to the lifeboat when their boat sank

Four people have been rescued after their fishing vessel sank off the west coast of Scotland.

Oban RNLI lifeboat went to the scene when the 17-metre fishing boat began taking on water south of the Garvellachs on Wednesday afternoon.

When the lifeboat arrived, they discovered two members of the crew on a life-raft while two others had remained on board in a bid to stem the flow of water coming in.

The Prestwick-based Coastguard helicopter Rescue 199 and a local workboat were standing by, however, strong winds and a heavy sea made it impossible to transfer across members of the lifeboat crew to the fishing boat with a salvage pump.

The people on the life raft were brought aboard the lifeboat and, as the skipper of the fishing boat believed that they had stopped the water coming in, it was decided to tow the vessel to Oban for repairs.

However, while the vessel was being towed by the lifeboat and was about two miles south west of Easdale island, it began taking in water again and listed heavily.

It sank in a matter of minutes, forcing the two remaining people on the fishing vessel into the water and they swam to the lifeboat and were pulled to safety by its crew.

The fishing vessel began listing to the side before sinking
Lifeboat and fishing vessel The fishing vessel began listing to the side before sinking

Oban lifeboat Coxswain Ally Cerexhe said that both high winds and a significant swell made the operation difficult.

He said: “What had been a slow tow suddenly changed and the fishing vessel listed heavily and then sank very quickly, forcing the two members to abandon the boat and swim across to us.

“I’d like to thank my Coastguard colleagues and the crew of the Celtic Guardian who assisted during the operation.”

The lifeboat returned to Oban where the four people from the fishing vessel were passed into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service and Coastguard team members.