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Investigation launched as fisherman dies after falling overboard trawler near Shetland

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An investigation has been launched into the death of a fisherman who died after falling overboard near Shetland.

Coastguard received a Mayday call from the Copius fishing trawler at about 3.20am this morning.

The ship was based about 30 nautical miles south-east from Sumburgh Head.

A rescue helicopter and lifeboat from Lerwick were sent to the scene.

The man’s body was recovered from the water by the helicopter, with no one else injured.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch confirmed that they were investigating the incident.

A spokeswoman said: “The Marine Accident Investigation Branch is conducting a safety investigation into a fatal accident on the UK registered trawler Copious on 18 February 2021 south east of Sumburgh Head.

“Sadly, one fisherman lost his life when he fell overboard. The MAIB is investigating the circumstances that led to the accident.”

A police spokesman said:  “We are working with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch to establish the full circumstances.

“A report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal in due course.”

A coastguard spokesman added: “Lerwick Coastguard Rescue Team assisted and Police Scotland were also made aware of the incident.

“Other vessels in the nearby area responded to the Mayday broadcast from the vessel.

“The helicopter, with a paramedic on board to provide medical support, reached the vessel and airlifted a casualty from the scene to Gilbert Bain Hospital, Lerwick, Shetland.”


Alistair Carmichael

The incident was described as a “tragedy” by Orkney and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael.

He said:  “This is a tragedy that will be felt keenly throughout the whole community in Shetland.

“Our thoughts and condolences go to his family, friends and neighbours.

“It is also a tragic reminder that fishermen do a dangerous job to put food on our table.

“We must always ask what we can do to make their job as safe as possible.“

Shetland Fishermen’s Association said: “All our thoughts with the bereaved family and the crew of the Copious after this morning’s terrible accident at sea.”

Ali Godfrey, director of business development at the The Fishermen’s Mission charity said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the crew and their families of the FV Copious at this terrible time.

“Fishing remains the most dangerous peacetime occupation in the UK and days like this starkly remind us of this fact.

“As always, the Fishermen’s Mission remains available, day and night, to support those who suffer terrible accidents at sea.  We know that many other fishing communities around the coast will join in sending our heartfelt condolences to all.”

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