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A fisherman who survived the sinking of a fishing boat has told how the crew’s liferaft
did not inflate after their escape from their rapidly sinking vessel.
The four fishermen abandoned the vessel just before she went down off Mingulay, south
of Barra early on Saturday.
Two bodies were later found, including one man who tried to swim to shore.
Lachlan Armstrong (pictured above) swum to rocks on an island and was found safe.
Maritime emergency services and police have carried out extensive searches for the
missing fourth crew member.
Mr Armstrong highlighted the liferaft located above the wheelhouse "gave us a false
sense of hope.”
To their horror, the emergency safety craft - which should have inflated automatically
- did not work for some unknown reason.
“It would not inflate. We had to cut the box open with a knife and then spread out
the un-inflated rubber. We filled it up with fenders for buoyancy,” he said.
“All of the four of us worked as a team together to try and make some kind of raft.”
They stuffed air-filled buoys and fenders inside the non-working raft hoping “to
keep it afloat.”
But the un-inflated, semi-submerged makeshift raft would not take their combined
weight, he said.
Their lifejackets kept their heads above the water as they grimly held on to the
side of the barely floating makeshift device.
The fisherman praised the maritime emergency services for their hard work during
the search and rescue operation.
Emergency liferaft did not inflate when fishermen abandoned boat
12 April 2016