Eight fishermen rescued as boat sinks

Dramatic video footage has been released showing the rescue of fishermen after their boat sank 36 miles north-east of Bressay this morning (Sunday).

The 27-metre Opportune started taking on water at around 5am and the crew took to a liferaft in rough seas.

Video: HM Coastguard

The crew had managed to make an emergency radio call before a distress beacon was activated to alert the emergency services of their exact location.

Rescuers later said these methods of communication had helped save their lives.

At the time, winds were northerly, Force 6-7, with an air temperature of around five degrees Celsius.

Lerwick Lifeboat, the Sumburgh-based coastguard helicotper and a Norwegian rescue helicopter were all scrambled to go to their aid.

The crew was airlifted to safety and taken to Sumburgh Airport, where they were said to be safe and well.

Max Rimington for HM Coastguard said: “The fishing vessel crew made their initial call from a DSC (digitial selective calling) radio before all communications were lost with the vessel.

“Following that, an alert was received from their emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) by the Coastguard.

“These two methods of communication meant that we knew exactly where the fishermen were and were able to send rescue assets to their location without the need for a protracted search.

“The beacon and DSC, alongside their liferaft undoubtedly led us to recovering all of the fishermen safely.”

He added: “This case shows the value of carrying the correct Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) approved equipment, having it correctly registered with HM Coastguard and knowing how to use it.”

Lerwick lifeboat arrived at the scene of the sinking around 15 minutes later. Crew searched the area and recovered floating debris from the surface.

Lerwick lifeboat crew recovered floating debris from the scene of the sinking, including a liferaft and a ‘hi-line’ rope used for helicopter lifting operations.

The lifeboat returned to Lerwick harbour around 10am, and was refuelled and made
ready for service again.

Lifeboat coxswain Stephen Manson said: “We’re pleased that all crew were safely recovered by helicopter, given the cold sea temperature and rough sea conditions.

Lerwick Lifeboat returning to Lerwick harbour at 10am this morning, after the five-hour call out in rough seas.

“The fishing vessel was well equipped and their distress beacon gave their exact location for the rescue response. Our volunteer crew are always able to respond to any request to launch for vessels in distress.”


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