No lifeboat plans after Loch Awe deaths

Image caption,
The men died after falling into the waters of Loch Awe in March 2009

A senior RNLI official has told a fatal accident inquiry that there are no plans to create a lifeboat station on Loch Awe in Argyll.

Waveney Crookes said that despite a number of drownings on the loch, the charity had to spend its limited resources where they were most needed.

The inquiry follows the drowning of four men on the loch in March 2009.

Although rescuers could hear the men's cries, a rescue boat had to be called from Renfrew but arrived too late

The bodies of William Carty, 47, and Craig Currie, 30, were recovered from the water soon after the accident.

Two bodies, believed to be those of Mr Carty's brother, Steven, 42, and 36-year-old Thomas Douglas were recovered 10 weeks later.

The men had been returning from a pub on the other side of the loch when their boat capsized

Despite the alarm being raised, it took more than an hour for the rescue boat from Renfrew to arrive at the scene.

Mr Crookes said the RNLI was largely for sea-going search and rescue.

He said that while there was a lifeboat station operating on Loch Ness, the charity had to spend its money carefully in places where there was the greatest risk to life.

He added that it would be difficult to maintain a dedicated volunteer crew on permanent standby on Loch Awe given the small population in the area.

Loch Awe, which is popular with anglers, is the third largest loch by surface area in Scotland and is sometimes referred to as "The Jewel Of Argyll".

It is also the longest freshwater loch in Scotland, measuring more than 25 miles from end to end, with an average width of just over half a mile.

The inquiry at Oban Sheriff Court continues.

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