Oyster farm boss dies following accident on Loch Creran

The accident happened on the shore of Loch Creran in Argyll. Picture: Robert Perry/TSPL
The accident happened on the shore of Loch Creran in Argyll. Picture: Robert Perry/TSPL
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An oyster farm boss has died after an accident at his company’s work site on the shores of a Scottish loch.

Fellow workers raised the alarm when Hugo Vajk, who ran Caledonian Oyster Co Ltd with his wife Judith, ended up face down in the water near the shoreline of Loch Creran, north of Benderloch, near Oban.

Mr Vajk was retrieved from the water late on Sunday afternoon by Oban RNLI lifeboat and then airlifted, by Coastguard rescue helicopter, to Lorn and islands Hospital.

Mr Vajk’s distraught widow Judith, 54, said her husband was working with others at the site while she was working at their other site close by.

She said: “It was an accident working on the beach. I don’t know the circumstances but they were working at low tide and then I think, basically, the water was coming up.

“I was working on the other site, just further along, another worker struggled to get him out of the water, but the lifeboat got him out.”

The couple have a son and two daughters and Mrs Vajk said: “He loved being at the beach and working here, he loved his job. He was very well known and very respected.”

Mrs Vajk, who is originally from Perthshire, added that her husband was French and after working in his home country for a while they had started an oyster farm on Herm island, off Guernsey, before coming back to her native Scotland in 1995, to run the farm in Argyll.

Their company won top prize (2017-2018) for Best Native Oysters at the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers annual conference in Oban in October and won the same award back in 2014.

Family friend and fellow shellfish farmer Nicki Holmyard, said: “Hugo Vajk was one of the pioneers of Scottish oyster farming and the industry has lost one of the best in the business.

“He ran a very successful operation in Loch Creran with his family, but was not one to shout about his achievements.

“Hugo was a charming and witty Frenchman that we were pleased to count as a friend. He will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. It’s such a shock to hear that he died at the farm.

“I understand it was an accident, but I don’t know what happened.”

Police blocked off the road to the lochside farm yesterday as officers scoured the area and took photographs at the scene as part of their inquiry into the accident.