Man crashes helicopter during hunt for missing boat

46-year-old Keith Punler lost a boat and a helicoper in a matter of hours - but at least he got the boat back

A man who went looking for his lost motor boat in his private helicopter escaped unharmed yesterday after crashing into Loch Long in Argyll.

Forty-six-year-old Keith Punler took his four-seater helicopter up after waking yesterday to discover his Regal sportsboat was not on its mooring at his holiday home on the loch.

But just after 9am – for reasons not yet known – he was forced to ditch in the loch. He escaped unharmed from the wreck and managed to swim half a mile to shore.

Good news awaited him as he made it to dry land as the boat had already been discovered – with the suspected thief sleeping on board.

The 20-year-old man on board and another 25-year-old man, both of whom were staying at a nearby campsite, were arrested in connection with the boat’s disappearance.

A spokesperson from Clyde Coastguard said: “We started searching [for the boat] and put teams out but it was spotted by someone else. It had not gone very far.

“The man that owns it owns his own helicopter and went looking for it and ended up ditching into the loch but he managed to get out and swim ashore.”