A FISHERMAN died after he and two other crew members were rescued from a life-raft after their boat sank off the west coast of Harris.
Norman MacLeod, 45, from Lewis, died in hospital several hours after being rescued. His two colleagues were released after being treated for hypothermia.
The three crew members were plucked from waters west of Harris after the emergency services were alerted to the incident on Thursday afternoon. The men, all from Lewis, raised a mayday call requesting urgent assistance after their ten-metre fishing vessel Achieve got into trouble.
No location was given but the Stornoway Coastguard calculated a likely position by triangulating radio signals and checking local ports and harbours for a vessel of the same name.
The Coastguard found the men in their life-raft, six miles from the island of Taransay.
The life-raft rope initially snagged on the sinking ship leaving two of the fishermen inside the raft to free it. Mr Macleod became separated from them in the water until his colleagues deflated the life-raft canopy and managed to row to him. All three were airlifted to Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway for treatment.
The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has begun an inquiry into the sinking.
A spokeswoman for Stornoway Coastguard said: “We don’t know why the boat sunk. The conditions were very good.”
Ed Thompson, Stornoway Coastguard watch manager, said: ”It would appear the fishermen’s vessel sank very quickly.”