Ev­ery time my hus­band left for work he’d kiss me and say: ‘I love you, see you to­mor­row.’ But then there was no to­mor­row

As a crim­i­nal probe be­gins into the Nancy Glen sink­ing, one of the wid­ows speaks pub­licly for the first time

The Scottish Mail on Sunday - - News - By Lor­raine Kelly

HIS re­as­sur­ing words, meant to make her un­der­stand the depth of his feel­ings for their new adop­tive land, will haunt her for­ever. ‘It is a beau­ti­ful and safe place to live,’ Prze­mek Krawczyk told his wife, Gosia, after leav­ing their home in Poland to set­tle in the pic­turesque fish­ing vil­lage of Tar­bert, Ar­gyll.

To­day, 13 years on, as a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion is launched into the sink­ing of the prawn boat he worked on, the irony of those words are not lost on Mrs Krawczyk as she faces a new chap­ter of her life with­out her beloved hus­band.

In Jan­u­ary this year, 38-year-old Mr Krawczyk and his skip­per on the Nancy Glen, Dun­can MacDougall, 46, drowned when the ves­sel cap­sized and sank sud­denly in Loch Fyne on its way home from a fish­ing trip.

There was only one sur­vivor, John Miller, 34, who raised the alarm and was pulled from the wa­ter by the crew of a pass­ing boat, be­fore a ma­jor search was launched. De­spite the best en­deav­ours of the Coast­guard, po­lice and lo­cal fish­er­men, how­ever, lit­tle could be done.

Both the wreck and the men lay at the bot­tom of the loch for three

Prze­mek was ev­ery­thing to me – my life, my love and my best friend

months be­fore the ves­sel was raised in April and the bod­ies were mer­ci­fully re­turned to their fam­i­lies.

Now, fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment last week that a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der way into the sink­ing, the fish­er­man’s widow has opened up for the first time about her need for answers – and her com­mit­ment to find­ing out the truth be­hind her hus­band’s death.

The mother of two also spoke can­didly about her last mo­ments with her hus­band and re­vealed her plans to cam­paign for new reg­u­la­tions which will guar­an­tee the re­cov­ery of all bod­ies lost at sea.

Last night she said: ‘My hus­band was ev­ery­thing to me. He was my life, he was my love, he was my best friend and he was an amaz­ing fa­ther for our chil­dren.

‘I have the right to know why he went to work and never came home. I need answers – with­out them I can­not move on with my life. It is not just for me – this might pre­vent some­thing so tragic and so painful hap­pen­ing to oth­ers.

‘It is right to be able to ex­plain what hap­pened truth­fully to my kids, what hap­pened to their fa­ther. I just want to know why he died.’

Mr Krawczyk, orig­i­nally from the city of Ustka, Poland, was a highly ex­pe­ri­enced fish­er­man and had worked in Poland and Ire­land for sev­eral years, be­fore mov­ing to Tar­bert to work on the Sco­tia Star.

He be­came the skip­per of the ves­sel – on which he worked for 12 years – be­fore trans­fer­ring to the Nancy Glen a year be­fore the sink- ing on Jan­u­ary 18. Last week, the Crown Of­fice an­nounced that the procu­ra­tor fis­cal had in­structed Po­lice Scot­land to in­ves­ti­gate the cir­cum­stances around the deaths.

Mrs Krawczyk, 41, be­lieves this is the only way she will find out why her hus­band died.

Re­call­ing the mo­ment a neigh­bour broke the news that there had been a tragic ac­ci­dent in­volv­ing the Nancy Glen, she said: ‘Half of me died that night and I want to know what hap­pened – what made my hus­band go to work and not come home. I was busy around the house, clean­ing up with mu­sic on, and I was happy, be­cause Prze­mek said they had caught a lot of prawns all week and I was se­cretly hop­ing he might get the next day off.

‘But as I was tak­ing the bins out, my neigh­bour came up to me and asked: “Who is with you? Do you know what’s hap­pened?” I said no. I didn’t un­der­stand, I was still happy. She told me there had been an ac­ci­dent. It still didn’t click. Then she told me it was the Nancy Glen. I ran in­side and started scream­ing and cry­ing. I put my shoes and jacket on and I ran to the har­bour.

‘Ev­ery­one in the vil­lage was there. I knew he had no chance of sur­viv­ing in that wa­ter. But it was so calm, the wa­ter was so still – there was no rea­son for him to die. I hope that one day I will find out why.’

Fol­low­ing the tragedy, the Ma­rine Ac­ci­dent In­ves­ti­ga­tion Branch (MAIB) con­ducted a seabed sur­vey of the Nancy Glen, which was ly­ing at a depth of around 460ft, and con­cluded that it could not raise the boat.

How­ever, fol­low­ing a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign that raised more than £280,000 to try to re­cover the bod­ies, the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment stepped in and be­gan work­ing with sal­vage spe­cial­ists.

The en­tire op­er­a­tion is be­lieved to have cost around £1 mil­lion – and the crowd­fund­ing money will now be di­vided be­tween the fam­i­lies.

On April 12, the Nancy Glen was raised by a lift­ing barge and the bod­ies of the two fish­er­men were re­cov­ered the fol­low­ing day.

Mrs Krawczyk, who did not leave her home for five weeks fol­low­ing the tragedy, said know­ing her hus­band was still at the bot­tom of the sea was ‘too painful for words’.

She said: ‘I felt so guilty, all the time, sit­ting and hav­ing a cof­fee here whilst my hus­band was there at the bot­tom of the sea.

‘I just wanted to go and take him my­self but I couldn’t. I could not leave the house. I know it sounds ridicu­lous but I know deep down that I was wait­ing for him to come home. Be­cause ev­ery time my hus­band left for work, he would kiss me on the fore­head and say ‘I love you, I’ll see you to­mor­row.’ Ev­ery time. And the night be­fore he died, he did the same thing. But there was no to­mor­row.’

Mrs Krawczyk is now de­ter­mined to cam­paign for new reg­u­la­tions in Scot­land which will en­sure that all boats are raised and all bod­ies, where pos­si­ble, are re­turned to their fam­i­lies.

She said: ‘I re­ally hope my hus­band’s death brings some­thing pos­i­tive – not for me but for oth­ers, for other fish­er­men and their fam­i­lies, that he didn’t die for noth­ing.

‘Fish­er­men risk their lives ev­ery day and sac­ri­fice them­selves to bring the goods of the ocean for peo­ple to en­joy. They de­serve to be pro­tected and treated like ev­ery­one else – and have a guar­an­tee that if some­thing hap­pens, their boat and their bod­ies will be re­cov­ered.’

She added: ‘I be­lieve only the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment can make these changes. They have shown me they can do this, be­cause I was in the mid­dle of hell, and they man­aged to bring my hus­band home to me.’ She ad­mits she will al­ways cher­ish the mo­ment she was fi­nally able to say a proper good­bye to her hus­band after his body was re­cov­ered.

She said: ‘I am the lucky one. I got to sit be­side him and be with him. I got to hold his hand and tell him how much I loved him. I got to have a last date with my hus­band.

‘It was the most dif­fi­cult farewell in my life but on this day I was the hap­pi­est per­son on earth be­cause I got a chance to say good­bye.

‘I will be for­ever grate­ful to the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment for this – they brought my hus­band back to me and be­cause of them, I was able to have one last date with him. I be­lieve ev­ery­one should have this chance. I don’t want any other fam­i­lies, wives or chil­dren to go through the night­mare I went through.’

Mr Krawczyk, who grad­u­ated as a chef and worked in many restau­rants in Poland be­fore join­ing the Pol­ish navy, where he served as a chef on a de­stroyer, left be­hind two chil­dren – Kacper, 21, and Mia, five.

The cou­ple had IVF treat­ment for 12 years to have their youngest child – and Mrs Krawczyk said that ex­plain­ing to her daugh­ter what hap­pened was one of the most dif­fi­cult things she has faced.

She said: ‘He adored our son Kacper, and Mia. It is hard be­cause Mia is so young, she won’t re­mem­ber a lot, and she doesn’t un­der­stand what has hap­pened.

‘I told her that her dad has gone to the sky, and for the first few nights after he died, we looked out the win­dow and waved to him and said “Good­bye Dad, we love you”. But on the third night, she asked me why dad can’t take a rocket and come down to see us.

‘I re­alised then that she doesn’t un­der­stand. I have kept thou­sands of photos and doc­u­ments for her when she is older, so she can cre­ate her own pic­ture of him.’

Gaz­ing lov­ingly at the fam­ily por­traits and snaps on the walls around her, she solemnly added: ‘I would give any­thing for just ten min­utes with him, just to tell him that I love him.

‘Be­ing Prze­mek’s wife was an hon­our for me. I am grate­ful for ev­ery minute. I know our time to­gether was shorter than we had hoped, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I would do it all again, ex­actly as we did it.’

I held his hand and told him how much I loved him. It was the most dif­fi­cult farewell in my life

RE­COV­ERY: The wreck of the Nancy Glen is winched from the seabed in an op­er­a­tion that cost the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment £1 mil­lion

LOV­ING FA­THER: Prze­mek Krawczyk shared a kiss with wife Gosia be­fore ev­ery voy­age from Tar­bert. Right, the dot­ing dad and hus­band with daugh­ter Mia, son Kacper and Gosia

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