HeadLine: THE CRUEL SEA
The Mirror, 29/12/2003, p8
by SHAUN MILNE
HOPE was fading last night for two anglers missing in a “horrendous”
storm at sea.
Air and sea rescue crews have been combing 900 square miles of sea from
Montrose to Berwick-upon-Tweed since Saturday.
But the search was yesterday called off for the night, with still no
sign of the lost pair.
It is now two days since the fishermen, believed to be a 34-year-old
and his 16-year-old neighbour, from Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, set off
Launching their 14ft boat from Blackness, West Lothian, relatives say
the pair, who have not been named, planned to get home from the Firth
of Forth by around 4.30pm.
But Forth Coastguard was called in at 7.21pm after they failed to
answer repeated calls to their mobile phone.
Lifeboats were then launched from South Queensferry, near Edinburgh,
and Kinghorn, Fife, in conditions rescuers branded “quite horrendous”.
And Coastguard teams from as far as North Berwick, East Lothian, later
joined the search in gale-force winds, along with a Royal Navy
helicopter from Prestwick, in Ayrshire.
Yesterday, Blackness residents said prayers at the parish church for
the anglers’ safe return.
But, last night, John Mayston, of Forth Maritime Rescue, said: “The
search has now been called off for the night.
“From being optimistic this morning, our hopes are now fading for them.
It is bitterly cold out there on the water.”
Keen sailor Graham Banks, 43, who has regularly tackled the Forth
estuary, said: “The waves are far too rough for a boat that size.
“I have a 16ft boat and I wouldn’t consider going out in those
Another resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I hope that they
are found alive and well.
“But, with every hour that goes past, the chances of that look less
“It is freezing here on shore, let alone out there in the middle of the
water with no shelter.
“The wind chill factor is must be well below freezing.”
However, Bob Abercrombie, Forth Coastguard watch manager, pledged the
search would continue.
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