Trawler's Capsize Leaves One Dead, One Missing

File image courtesy RNLI Ramsgate / facebook

By MarEx 2016-12-28 21:05:05

On Wednesday, the UK's Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency conducted a search for the crew of a capsized trawler off Ramsgate, in the English Channel. Two were located but the third and final crewmember remains missing, with hope of a rescue diminishing. 

One fortunate crewmember was spotted by a passing merchant tanker as he clung to the vessel's upturned hull, and was lifted off by helicopter and taken for medical treatment. He told authorities that the Belgium-flagged boat had flipped suddenly on Tuesday night, and that the crew had not had time to get off a mayday message. He had seen at least one crewmember go over the side. 

A team of two divers from Belgium inspected the vessel to determine if any survivors were trapped inside, but they found it empty. Two SAR helicopters, one from the UK and one from Belgium, participated in a wider search, aided by several RNLI lifeboats. RNLI Ramsgate said in a statement that a local fishing boat and a windfarm boat also participated in the effort.

Later on Wednesday, one additional crewmember was found and pulled from the water, and while he showed signs of life at the time of his rescue, he passed away at the hospital. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency called off the search for the third missing crewmember for the day when night fell on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the Dover Coastguard station told the BBC that a survivor might last up to 15 hours in the water, which averages 50 degrees Fahrenheit at this time of year. 

The weather was reportedly calm at the time of the capsize, and as yet there are no indications of the cause of the accident.