15th November 2018
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Experts try to recreate fisherman’s last journey as search is called off

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Electronic experts are trying to piece together the last journey taken by Cunningsburgh fisherman Neil Smith, who went missing during a voyage on his vessel Breadwinner (WY 367) last week.

The vessel’s GPS system has been recovered from the wreckage and taken to electronic specialists H Williamson & Sons of Scalloway.

The hope is the satellite tracking system will reveal the path taken by the boat on her fateful voyage last week. An official from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has been in the isles this week in a bid to recover some of the technical data.

It comes at the end of a week in which emergency services and the fishing community made a con­certed effort to find Mr Smith.

However the search has so far proved unsuccessful. There has been no sign of him since he took off single-handedly in his boat from Lerwick’s Morrison Dock early last Thursday morning.

The coastguard’s search and res­cue helicopter spent hours searching 250 square miles east of Bressay after he failed to return from his voyage. Lerwick’s lifeboat was also on the scene.

The 10-metre Breadwinner was discovered partially sunk at Grif Skerry off Whalsay on Friday morning. The life raft had been inflated, but Mr Smith could not be found.

A major operation continued over the weekend, with local fish­ing boats and the oil industry’s Jigsaw heli­copter combing the area along with coastguard search teams.

The search was later scaled down, although fishing boats Guid­ing Light and Hope III remained to trawl in the area as the new week got underway.

Although the coastguard search was stood down, the rescue heli­copter incorporated a coastal search of the area as part of a training exercise.

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About Ryan Taylor

Ryan Taylor has worked as a reporter since 1995, and has been at The Shetland Times since 2007, covering a wide variety of news topics. Before then he reported for other newspapers in the Highlands, where he was raised, and in Fife, where he began his career with DC Thomson. He also has experience in broadcast journalism with Grampian Television. He has lived in Shetland since 2002, where he harbours an unhealthy interest in old cars and motorbikes.

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