Fishermen rescued from drifting trawler – Eleven fishermen have been rescued from a French trawler which was left drifting without power in violent winds off the west coast of Scotland. The Cap Saint Jean, with 18 crew on board, raised the alarm 60 miles north west of Lewis. The rescued crewmen were flown to Stornoway by Coastguard helicopter this afternoon. They are all said to be safe and well.
The 18 crewmen on board the Cap Saint Jean drifted for miles in violent gale force winds facing waves up to 80ft high before being rescued by a Royal Navy helicopter.
Coastguard Helicopter Pilot Captain Giles Duncan said: “We elected to winch down a steadying line to get our winchman on board so we could establish what had gone wrong with the vessel and what sort of assistance they needed. At this time we didn’t know if they intended to abandon ship, or what the condition of the vessel was. Once we got the winchman on board, the captain elected that he wished to have 11 persons lifted off, leaving seven persons on board as minimum crew to assist returning operations to recover the eleven people back to Stornoway for their own safety.”
None the worse for their ordeal the 11 men are back on dry land and waiting for the remaining seven crew members. Apart from having no ship, the only other problem they have is the language barrier.
Interpreter Helen Froud said: “Obviously it’s been a very difficult experience, most of them have said that none of them have been evacuated like this before and it just felt like an exercise, but they’re very pleased to be here, and they’re very pleased that we’re able to give them some clothes, feed them and make sure that they’re looked after properly, but it’s really quite a difficult experience for most of them, and most of them are worried about those seven crew that have stayed on board the ship.”
The trawler and the seven fishermen are no immediate danger. They are awaiting assistance from the Stornoway lifeboat and other vessels heading to the area.