A fisherman died today after falling overboard from a trawler and spending an hour in the icy Atlantic.
Poor weather conditions – including a 13ft swell and a force 7 near-gale – hampered his crewmates as they battled to get him out of the water.
He is understood to have been wearing a lifejacket when he fell from the 100ft Banff-registered Beryl 20 miles west of Shetland.
Coastguard sent their Sumburgh-based search and rescue helicopter to the scene and the oil supply ship the Caledonian Victory was also alerted.
It immediately launched its fast rescue boat to assist as it was only five miles away.
The crew of the launch, which is operated by BP, managed to recover the man from the sea, and he was winched onboard the helicopter.
He was airlifted to the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick, but was later pronounced dead.
Police said his identity would not be released until next of kin had been informed.
A Shetland Coastguard spokesman said: “A man in his mid-forties fell overboard from a fishing vessel.
“He was recovered and transferred to a coastguard rescue helicopter and flown to Gilbert Bain in Lerwick.
“He was recovered from the water using the fast rescue craft from the Caledonian Victory.
“Weather on the scene prevented the fishing boat from recovering him.”
He added that there were strong west to south-westerly winds in the area.
He said the other people on the boat were unable to lift their colleague out of the water because of the conditions and the height of the Beryl’s deck from the sea surface.
The spokesman said: “The Caledonian Victory had an autonomous rescue recovery craft (ARRC), which was launched from the vessel to assist.
“It was able to recover the man and get him out of the water.
“The coastguard helicopter winched him off the ARRC and flew him to hospital.”
A spokesman for the police confirmed that the fisherman had died.
He said: “At around 12.05pm on Tuesday, Police Scotland received a report of a man in the water off the coast of Shetland.
“Police can sadly confirm that the man has died. However, no further details are being released at this time.”
The crew of Beryl contacted Shetland Coastguard at 9.30am, shortly after the man went overboard north of remote Foula, which is to the west of the main Shetland archipelago.
He was brought ashore at the Clickimin landing site at 11.20am and immediately transferred to hospital.
It is understood the Beryl mostly operates out of Scrabster.