X

Cookies

Continue We want you to get the most out of using this website, which is why we and our partners use cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to receive these cookies. You can find out more about how we use cookies here.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Subscriptions  |  evouchers  |  Jobs  |  Property  |  Motors  |  Travel  |  Dating  |  Family Notices

'Rogue' wave blamed for sinking of Cumbrian fishing boat

A father and son from west Cumbria were rescued by helicopter as their trawler sank into the sea.

Maryport fishing boat Rachael Jayne photo
The Rachael Jayne IV

Ryan and Daniel Whitehead, who are both from Maryport, described the terrifying moment that a wave washed over their boat, forcing them to flee without even a life jacket.

The Rachael Jayne IV was 26 miles off Tynemouth’s pier when disaster struck on Saturday afternoon.

Ryan, Daniel, 25, and two friends from the north east had just hauled in their last catch of prawns at about 5pm and were heading back to harbour at North Shields when a “rogue wave” hit their vessel.

“We just struck a big lump of water,” Ryan, 49, said. “A lot of water got in and it rolled starboard and just wouldn’t come back up.”

The four crew members had to abandon the vessel and make for the life raft.

They were not able to put life jackets on because they were in a room below deck that had flooded.

The boat was going down so quickly that Ryan had not even been able to send a distress signal to the coastguard, instead just managing to make a ‘mayday’ call which was picked up by nearby fishing vessel Kiroan.

A helicopter from RAF Boulmer was sent to the scene where it winched the men from the life raft onto the aircraft. They were taken to Wansbeck General Hospital in Ashington but were able to leave shortly after being admitted.

Ryan said there was no panic on board.

He said: “Everything just happened in minutes. We have done all the safety courses and they just kicked in and we got off without a problem. It was afterwards when the shock set in.”

Ryan has been a fisherman for 27 years while Daniel has been doing the job since leaving school at 16. Their work takes them around the UK.

The boat, registered at Maryport, was named after Ryan’s daughter.

The two men are now unemployed but Ryan, who has seen fellow fishermen die through the work, says it could have been much worse. “You can buy another boat but you can’t buy lives,” he said.

He praised the work of the emergency services who came to the crew’s rescue as well as commercial ships and other fishing vessels that also made their way towards them.

The Spirit of Northumberland lifeboat, based at RNLI Tynemouth, was sent to the scene and arrived within an hour but were unable to save the Rachael Jayne.

Michael Nugent, the coxwain of the lifeboat, said: “We got there and it was at a 45 degree angle on its side.”

Adrian Don, spokesman for Tynemouth RNLI, added: “The RNLI lifeboat crew recovered the life raft and considered the possibility of putting a pump onto the stricken vessel but were unable to do so. We were forced to watch her sink about 30 minutes later.”

Humber Coastguard watch manager Mike Puplett said: “This was a well-known Maryport registered prawn fishing boat with an experienced crew. It just goes to show that you should always be prepared for the unexpected.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE

News & Star What's On search





Vote

Do decorative lights in town centres make a difference to the way you feel about Christmas?

Certainly. I don't feel the season has started until after the big switch-on

These days I don't think they're worth the expense

Love them - but they shouldn't be switched on until December

Show Result

Hot jobs
Scan for our iPhone and Android apps
Search for:
NEWS & STAR ON: