Lifeboat rescues fishermen before their vessel sinks
FIVE fishermen were dramatically rescued after their vessel ran aground and capsized in the Sound of Mull on Monday.
The crew aboard the St Apollo escaped into their life-raft during the incident, which happened around 3.30am.
A rescue helicopter was sent from Prestwick, but the group were reached first by the Oban lifeboat, where they were taken ashore.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) has launched an inquiry into the cause of the sinking.
A spokesman for Oban RNLI said: ‘At 4.25am the lifeboat arrived at the scene and found that the crew of the fishing vessel had taken the precaution of launching their life-raft while they were awaiting rescue. As soon as the lifeboat arrived, the crew of the fishing vessel decided to abandon ship into the raft.
‘The five crew were then taken on board the lifeboat just in time to see their fishing vessel slip back into deeper water, capsize and become almost completely submerged.
‘The crew of the fishing vessel were checked for injuries and found to be no worse for their traumatic ordeal.’
A representative from the Fishermen’s Mission met the crew of the St Apollo on Oban Pier to offer assistance and a hot breakfast before the five men headed home to Ayrshire.
Matthew Ramsay, superintendent said: ‘ Many thanks to the Regent hotel, Oban, and its general manager, Tommy Sutherland.
‘Staff members Nicu, Ann and Irene all made sure the men were well cared for.
‘They didn’t bat an eyelid when asked to help so early in the morning – true West Highland hospitality and kindness at its best.
‘The mission is now on hand to offer support until the men can get back to the fishing.’
The rescue was the culmination of a busy 24 hours for the Oban crew, which had to deal with four call- outs.
On Sunday afternoon, the lifeboat was sent to help a yacht in difficulties off Craignish Point but stood down when another boat took the yacht under tow.
The crew received another callout that afternoon, but again stood down before launching.
Then in the evening, the crew set off to help a jet skier in trouble, but returned to port after the vessel was assisted ashore.
Pictured is Oban lifeboat’s XP boat, used to get alongside the fishing vessel during Monday’s rescue