Highlands & Islands

Man in fatal Loch Torridon accident not wearing lifejacket

Loch Torridon Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The fatal accident happened on Loch Torridon last August

A fisherman died because he was not wearing a lifejacket when he fell from a boat into the sea, an investigation into the accident has concluded.

Duncan Matheson, 63, was working as a deckhand on the Fram of Shieldaig in Loch Torridon in August last year.

Investigators said it was likely that he slipped or stumbled while manoeuvring a small tender alongside the moored fishing boat.

They said Mr Matheson was under the influence of alcohol at the time.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said this had been a contributory factor in his accident, which happened near Shieldaig in Wester Ross at about 08:00 on 7 August.

'Strict alcohol policy'

This was the fifth fatal overboard accident investigated by the MAIB since October 2015 involving fishing vessels based in remote Scottish locations.

It said in all these cases lifejackets were not worn.

Alcohol consumption was considered to be a contributing factor in 17 of 24 other fatal accidents between 1994 and 2016 involving fishermen boarding fishing vessels, the MAIB added.

Fram of Shieldaig's owner has reviewed the vessel's risk assessments and introduced a policy requiring his crews to wear lifejackets at all times while working on deck and boarding and leaving the vessel.

The MAIB has recommended a "strict" alcohol and drugs policy also be introduced and enforced.

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