Rescue chopper gets there just in time

A fisherman was winched to safety by the Stornoway Coastguard helicopter as his fishing vessel hit the shoreline after mechanical breakdown.

Stornoway Coastguard received a VHF call on channel 16 at 9.44am from the skipper of a 24ft fishing vessel Osprey, stating that he had lost power and was adrift just quarter of a mile from the shoreline.

Lochinver lifeboat was requested to launch and the Coastguard Rescue helicopter was scrambled to the scene at Reiff, thirty miles East of Stornoway, across the Minch, off the Summer Isles.

Martin Collins, Watch Manager, Stornoway Coastguard, said: “The skipper of the vessel was winched to safety at approximately 10.20am, after being sighted by the lifeboat on the shore and in the surf line.

“The fishing vessel was left on the shore until weather conditions changed, as it was too dangerous to attempt any salvage immediately, with a SSW Force 5 with heavy swell.”

The skipper was looked after by the Achiltibuie Coastguard Rescue team ashore at Reiff.

Martin added: “I would like to add that the successful conclusion to this incident was aided by the fact that the skipper supplied us with all relevant safety information, alerted us early to his problem and was wearing the correct safety equipment.

“A simple mechanical breakdown like this can easily develop into a major rescue operation resulting in loss of life.”