NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Drowned fisherman was not wearing flotation device, says MAIB

Sea Mist Image copyright MAIB
Image caption Tony Masson fell from from his vessel Sea Mist in March

A fishing boat skipper who drowned in Aberdeenshire was not wearing a flotation device, a report has revealed.

A major search was launched outside Macduff harbour after creel fisherman Tony Masson, 67, fell from from his vessel Sea Mist in March.

His son had seen the boat circling and raised the alarm.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch concluded that Mr Masson had become entangled in rope.

He was then dragged overboard.

Lifeboat crew members had recovered the single-handed boat's skipper from the water and he was flown to hospital.

The MAIB said he was working alone on deck without a personal flotation device (PFD) and there were no barriers in place to separate him from his fishing gear.

The investigation concluded that he drowned either because he was dragged underwater by the weight of the creels and was unable to free himself in time to reach the surface, or because he was unable to keep himself afloat after releasing his foot from his boot.

Image caption A rescue mission was launched and Tony Masson was flown to hospital

The report concluded that a flotation device would have increased his chances of survival.

One was found hanging up in the wheelhouse.

The MAIB has issued a safety flyer to the fishing industry highlighting how lessons can be learned from the accident by single-handed fishermen.

There have been 33 recorded fatalities on UK creel boats/potting vessels since the beginning of 2007, 20 of which were a result of either falling or being dragged overboard with the fishing gear.

Of these 20 fatalities, nine were single-handed fishing operations.

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