Tributes to fisherman who died after falling overboard

Gerard Gillies. Picture from Facebook
Gerard Gillies. Picture from Facebook
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A fisherman who was airlifted to hospital and later died after falling overboard off the Isle of Barra has been has been hailed as a “kind, gentle, generous man”.

Police Scotland said 42-year-old Gerard Gillies had been transferred to Western Isles Hospital after the incident yesterday afternoon, but died four hours later.

The Barra RNLI lifeboat was sent out, along with a coastguard helicopter to rescue Mr Gillies, who is believed to have been pulled out of the water by a fellow crew member off Pabbay Island, to the south of Barra.

Mr Gillies, an established member of the community in the Castlebay area of Barra, was described as a “gentleman” by friends and relatives.

Mr Gillie’s brother, Neil, paid tribute to his younger brother on Facebook. Alongside a picture of Mr Gillies, he wrote: “A kind, gentle, generous man, much loved by all his family, may he rest in peace. Amen. xxx”

A friend, Phiona Fletcher, added: “I am reading all the wonderful tributes to Gerry. All bar none say he was a gentleman. The essence of the man is laid before us by all who knew him. Rest easy, Gerry.”

A spokeswoman for Police Scotland said: “Police in the Western Isles can confirm that a 42-year-old man has died following a fall from a fishing boat south of Barra.

“Barra lifeboat and coastguard rescue helicopter attended the incident following a mayday call made around 12:25pm on Sunday. The man was transferred to Western Isles Hospital where sadly he died at 4:30pm.”

Meanwhile, coastguards have released video footage of a fire on board a vessel which five fishermen abandoned before being rescued in a separate incident on Sunday.

The film shows a huge plume of smoke drifting from the Karinya and flames blazing on the deck. The fishermen, who had abandoned their vessel and taken to a liferaft, were rescued by another ship after their boat caught fire off the coast of Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said the coastguard rescue helicopter from Inverness and the Fraserburgh RNLI lifeboat were sent to the scene at 1pm.

All of the crew members were said to be safe with no injuries. The Karinya later sank.

@janekbradley