Life raft cause of three deaths

Three fishermen died because their incorrectly stowed life raft failed to float free and automatically inflate when their vessel sank.

West Country (W)

Incorrectly installed life-raft caused fishermen's deaths

The three fishermen died when their vessel sank a year ago Credit: ITV Westcountry

An accident report says three fishermen died when their vessel sank, because their incorrectly stowed life-raft failed to float free and automatically inflate.

The three men had set off from Weymouth on the wooden potting 'Purbeck Isle' vessel when it foundered nine miles off Portland Bill in May last year.

Had the liferaft floated free and inflated it was "entirely possible" that the fishing boat's skipper David McFarlane, 35, and his crewmen, Jack Craig, 21, and Robert Prowse, 20, would have been saved, the report said.

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West Country (W)

Calls for more safety measures after death of fishermen

A report into the deaths of three fishermen who drowned when their boat sank off the coast of Dorset has found their life-raft was stored incorrectly.

The Purbeck Isle went down 9 miles off Portland last May. The boat's skipper, David McFarlane, and his two crewmen died.

An accident report found the life-raft failed to inflate, but had it been stored correctly it's likely the men would have been saved.

Andy Alcock from the Weymouth and Portland Licenced Fisherman's Association says more needs to be done to make sure boats that sail are sea-worthy:

Coastguard Agency responds to life raft deaths

Responding to the case of three fishermen who died because their incorrectly stowed life raft failed to float free and automatically inflate when their vessel sank, a spokesperson from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said:

This was a tragic accident and our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends of the three men who sadly lost their lives.

Regulations, standards and good safety practices are vital to ensure the safety of lives at sea. Working together with the Fishing Industry Safety Group (FISG), we are all keen to nurture improvements in the safety of commercial fishing vessel operations.

We take note of the recommendations from the MAIB report and we are implementing them.

Fishermen's life raft failed to float free and inflate

Boat
The Purbeck Isle was lost off Portland Bill. Credit: Dorset Media Service

Three fishermen died because their incorrectly stowed life raft failed to float free and automatically inflate when their vessel sank, an accident report said.

Had the life raft floated free and inflated it was "entirely possible" that the fishing boat's skipper David McFarlane, 35, and his crewmen, Jack Craig, 21, and Robert Prowse, 20, would have been saved.

The three men had set off from Weymouth in Dorset on the wooden potting vessel Purbeck Isle when the heavily-loaded boat suddenly foundered nine miles off Portland Bill in Dorset on the morning of May 17 last year.