Cornwall

Bugaled Breizh: Crew asked not to mention submarine, inquest told

Bugaled Breizh Image copyright APF
Image caption Five men died on the trawler 14 miles off Cornwall in 2004

A rescue helicopter pilot who attended a capsized French fishing vessel off Cornwall 15 years ago has told an inquest the crew was told not to mention the presence of a submarine.

The trawler Bugaled Breizh sank in January 2004, with the loss of all five crew members.

The inquest in Truro is examining the deaths of two of the men, Yves Gloaguen and Pascal le Floch.

"I was not happy about this decision," Capt Peter McLelland said.

The inquest heard from team members first on board a rescue helicopter from RNAS Culdrose.

Capt McLelland was flying the aircraft and described how the crew saw a life raft and lowered a diver to investigate.

Shortly afterwards they spotted and recovered two bodies, with CPR attempted as they flew to the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

'Not happy'

The crew then returned to Culdrose to refuel before returning to the rescue effort, by this point being co-ordinated by HMS Tyne.

Capt McLelland told the hearing that on the second visit he saw a number of fishing vessels, HMS Tyne and a submarine he estimated was about five and a half miles away.

When asked by acting senior coroner Andrew Cox about a team debrief, Capt McLelland said they were advised not to mention the submarine.

He said he went to see the commanding officer a couple of days after the event.

"He assured me he would report it to the relevant authority," Capt McLelland said.

The commanding officer at the time, Cdr David Cunningham, told the inquest he did not remember the debrief. He explained he would have left it for HMS Tyne to report the presence of the submarine.

The inquest will continue on Friday.

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