Fisherman honoured for saving colleague’s life

Charles McDonald helped save Paul Buchan from a horrific death in the North Sea. Picture: Hemedia
Charles McDonald helped save Paul Buchan from a horrific death in the North Sea. Picture: Hemedia
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A Fraserburgh fishing trawlerman who fought a life and death battle to save a fellow crewman from bleeding to death after a horror accident 50 miles out in the North Sea is to receive a top national life-saving honour.

Charles McDonald, 45, from Rosehearty in Fraserburgh, has been awarded a Royal Humane Society certificate of commendation for his fight to save the life of Paul Buchan, 22, after his leg was severed in an accident with a tow rope.

The incident happened out to sea 50 miles north-east of Aberdeen on the morning of 13 June this year on the deck of the trawler, the Fruitful Vine. As Mr Buchan lay bleeding, Mr McDonald rushed to his aid, cut away his oilskins and tied a tourniquet above his knee to stem the bleeding, according to reports.

A helicopter was called to airlift Mr Buchan, from Peterhead, to hospital where his leg was later amputated to the thigh.

Mr McDonald also received the personal praise of Dick Wilkinson, secretary of the Royal Humane Society.

As he announced the award at the society’s London headquarters he said: “We are used to hearing of horrific accidents at the society but this one is particularly horrific. I have never heard of anything quite like it.

“Thankfully Mr McDonald was there, kept a cool head and acted quickly to stop Mr Buchan bleeding to death. He richly deserves the award he is to receive.”

No date has yet been fixed for presentation of the award which has been made following a recommendation from Mr McDonald’s wife, Lyndsay, but it is expected to take place in the near future.

The roots of the Royal Humane Society stretch back more than two centuries. Its president is Princess Alexandra and it is the premier national body for honouring bravery in the saving of human life.

Since it was set up, the society has considered over 86,000 cases and made over 200,000 awards. The society is a registered charity which receives no public funding and is dependent on voluntary donations.