Fishermen watch in horror as prize boat sinks

April 26, 2011 | by | 0 Comments

A tearful captain has spoken of his devastation after being forced to watch in horror as his prize 70 foot fishing boat sank in the North Sea.

Fisherman watched in horror as prize boat sinks

Donald Anderson, 32, was aboard his vessel, the Strathelliot, when it sprang a leak and started to take on water.

He frantically tried to save it but was eventually left with no choice but to order the crew to abandon ship then joined them on the life raft as his livelihood perished.

Donald was picked up by another boat and watched helplessly for an hour as his boat vanished beneath the waves.

The professional fisherman, from Keiss in north-east Scotland, said: ”That was our livelihoods and now we’re all out of work. I’ve lost everything.

Fisherman watched in horror as prize boat sinks

”It was a huge shock. I had a dedicated crew and we were very close-knit.

”It’s one of those things you always hear about but never think is going to happen to you.”

Donald has worked on fishing boats since he was 18, following in the footsteps of his father Charlie, 63, a fisherman of more than 40 years.

Last year the pair teamed up and bought 70ft prawn trawler the Strathelliot, spending a fortune renovating it.

Fisherman watched in horror as prize boat sinks

However, disaster struck on Sunday afternoon, about 90 miles north-east of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, just as they were about to haul in their nets.

Donald realised something was seriously wrong and quickly ordered his father and fellow crew members William Low, 50, and Miles Black, 50, onto the life raft.

He said: ”The boat started flooding and our pumps couldn’t cope.

”I told the boys to get onto the life raft and I stayed on for about another 30 minutes. I thought there was still a chance I could save her.

Fisherman watched in horror as prize boat sinks

”I gave the boys a knife and told them to cut the raft free of the boat if she started to capsize.

”It got to the point where it was far too dangerous so I jumped into the raft.”

Before he left the boat Donald alerted the coastguard and nearby fishing boat, the Sardonyx.

Fisherman watched in horror as prize boat sinks

Tommy Mearns, skipper of the Sardonyx, rescued the crew and stuck around as the Strathelliot sank.

He said: ”It took about an hour for it to go. Donald was in a state. He has invested a lot in the boat. This was his future.

”But everything was taken away from him in an instant. He was crying on his boat and was shaking like a leaf when he got on mine.”

No one was injured in the incident and the Marine Investigation Branch (MAIB) is now probing the sinking.

Donald and his father are now trying to work out what will happen next.

Charlie said: ”It’s very difficult. We’re both still quite emotional about it. We’ve got no idea what we’re going to do now.”

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