Fishing boat capsizes during mayday call

A solo boater was rescued when his boat sank during a mayday call

A motorboat capsized while its owner was still making a mayday call. The 55-year-old fisherman was alone aboard his boat, St Peter, when it started taking on water about four miles off the Berwickshire coast, south east of Torness Power Station.

Coastguards scrambled a Royal Air Force Sea King helicopter from RAF Boulmer and Dunbar’s RNLI all-weather lifeboat also rushed to the scene. All that could be seen of St Peter when the lifeboat arrived on scene was its bow sticking upright above the surface.

“Where it was lying was too shallow to get the lifeboat close and so I had to put one of our crew over the side to swim across in case the man was trapped inside”, said Coxswain Gary Fairbairn. “Crewman Alistair Punton was banging on the outside of the hull to see if there was a response from inside when one of the other lifeboat crew saw the man floating in the water about 300 yards away.

“Alistair and crewman Stuart Pirie swam over, got a rope round him and he was pulled onboard. The casualty was extremely cold, possibly hypothermic, and so we got him below and started warming him up.”

Ambulance personnel met the lifeboat when it returned to Torness, but after examination the fortunate fisherman was allowed home, and arrangements to recover the sunken boat were put in place.