Lifeboat res­cues fish­er­men be­fore their ves­sel sinks

The Oban Times - - News - STEVEN RAE srae@oban­

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

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