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Fundraiser for tragic Shetland fisherman raises more than £10,000 within hours

The fisherman fell overboard from the trawler Copious.
The fisherman fell overboard from the trawler Copious.

A fundraising appeal for the family of a fisherman who died after falling overboard near Shetland yesterday raised more than £10,000 within hours.

The appeal was set up by Robie Johnson, who said her friend Joseph Lacaste, 45, died in the incident 30 miles south east of Sumburgh in the early hours of Thursday morning.

The Coastguard helicopter airlifted the man to Lerwick after he fell overboard from the local boat Copious, and police later confirmed his death.

Ms Johnson, who lives in Gulberwick, said she was “so overwhelmed with the generosity of everyone who has donated so far”.

She added: “It’s incredible how kind our community is.”

The fundraiser is looking to raise money for the father of two’s family back home in the Philippines to assist them with mortgage payments, as well as living and travel costs.

The fundraising appeal can be found on Facebook.

“It’s going to be a big help for Joseph’s family,” Ms Johnson said.

She added that the incident was “very sad and tragic news for everybody”.

Ms Johnson said she had been down to visit the crew of the Copious on Friday morning in Lerwick.

She brought food to help the fishermen as she was concerned about their wellbeing.

The police said yesterday that officers were working with the Marine Accident Investigation Branch to establish the full circumstances of the incident.

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael said it was “also a tragic reminder that fishermen do a dangerous job to put food on our table”.

Other nearby vessels also responded when the alarm was raised at 3.20am on Thursday as the whitefish boat was about 30 nautical miles south-east from Sumburgh Head.

The Sumburgh-based search and rescue helicopter recovered the man from the water, with the lifeboat from Lerwick stood down before reaching the scene.

The man was recovered from the water and flown ashore before being transferred to the Gilbert Bain Hospital in Lerwick.

Ali Godfrey, from the Fishermen’s Mission charity, said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the crew and their families of the 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.”

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