The death of a scallop dredger could have been prevented if he was wearing a life jacket, according to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB).
Deckhand Scott Rennie, 31, fell overboard from the King Challenger vessel 12 nautical miles south-west of Scalloway, Shetland.
Fell in freezing waters
He was trying to unhook a damaged dredge bag from the end of the tipping door when he fell.
The crew managed to get him back on board within 10 minutes, but at that point he was unconscious and showed no signs of life.
Resuscitation attempts failed despite quick air evacuation to hospital.
The sea had a temperature of 10.5C. Although Mr Rennie was a good swimmer he was incapacitated by the cold after just four minutes.
The MAIB report said: “The crew laid Scott on the deck and took turns to give him chest compressions. He was not breathing, his lips were blue, his eyes were fixed open and he was frothing at the mouth.
“Rescue helicopter R900 arrived at the scene at 10.07am, and by 10.15am a winchman had landed on board. Scott was airlifted to Lerwick from where he was transferred by road to Gilbert Bain Hospital.
“He did not recover consciousness and was declared deceased at 11.00am.”
The report did find that crew members would regularly work on open tipping doors without securing themselves with a lifeline or wearing a life jacket. And they were also “unprepared for the rescue of an unconscious casualty” from the water.
One of the deckhands put on a life jacket and jumped into the water to put a harness round Mr Rennie, who was then floating on his back unconscious.
The report said: “The post-mortem examination report stated that Scott died as a result of drowning. Had Scott been wearing a life jacket when he entered the water, it is likely that he would have been recovered alive.”
Date Published: March 10, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown