Death of ‘Achieve’ fisherman

A FORTY-three year old crew man from the fishing vessel ‘Achieve’ tragically passed away at Western Isles Hospital late last night (Thursday, February 21st).

The fishing boat – which had three crew aboard – sank yesterday afternoon as Stornoway Coastguard search and rescue helicopter plucked the men from a life-raft.

It is believed that the 10m ‘Achieve’ – which was situated about six miles west of the Isle of Taransay in the Sound of Harris – had completed hauling creels and was making way to Leverburgh in reasonable weather when tragedy struck.

Just after 3pm Stornoway Coastguard Station received a spoken Mayday call asking for urgent assistance.

Stornoway and Leverburgh RNLI lifeboats were launched and Stornoway Coastguard search and rescue helicopter took off at 3.55pm to attend the scene.

For reasons yet unknown, the vessel had began to quickly take on water and listed almost immediately.

The crew abandoned the boat by launching the vessel’s life-raft, although it’s believed that initially the life-raft was caught on the boat’s wheel-housing.

Two crew successfully entered and freed the raft, however the third crew member was still in the water and some distance from them. The two crew men was forced to deflate the life-raft’s canopy to enable them to row to their fellow fisherman and get him on board.

All three were air-lifted by Stornoway Coastguard chopper and transferred to Western Isles Hospital for medical examination.

It is understood that the fishing vessel the ‘Achieve’ sank very quickly.

The 43 year old crew man who died had entered the water wearing a life-jacket, but had been in the water for a considerable time – with very low sea temperatures at this time of year.

Supporting the crew and families, Superintendent Finlay MacLeod of Stornoway Fishermen’s Mission, said: “Once again we are reminded, if ever proof needed, that fishing is the most dangerous occupation in the UK with the tragic death of this fisherman.

“On behalf of the fishing community throughout the Western Isles, and the Royal Mission Deep Sea Fishermen, I would like to express our deep sympathy to the families concerned; and also to the two surviving crewmen and to assure them of our prayers and thoughts at this distressing time.”