Fishermen praised for brave efforts to save man who went overboard

Edison Joseph Carrera Lacaste died while working on a fishing vessel known as 'the Copious' in February 2021.

Fisherman’s colleagues praised for brave efforts to save Edison Lacaste who fell overboard near Shetland Getty Images

A sheriff has commended the bravery of a fisherman’s colleagues who attempted to save his life after he fell overboard near Shetland.

Edison Joseph Carrera Lacaste died while working on a fishing vessel known as “the Copious” in February 2021.

The 45-year-old Filipino national was described as an “experienced fisherman and well respected member of the crew of the Copious” on which he had worked since 2015.

Mr Lacaste had worked on fishing vessels for 14 years and would work away from home for up to ten months of the year in order to send money back home to his family, including his wife and two daughters, and his three brothers and five sisters.

In the early hours of February 18, 2021, Mr Lacaste had been on the vessel which was trawling for white fish south east of Shetland.

He was on the lower work deck of the boat repairing a break in the fishing gear when he lost his footing and fell in to the sea after a swell caused a downward motion at the back of the boat.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry heard that Mr Lacaste went into the water that was 7C and that his lifejacket had deployed and inflated.

However, the fisherman immediately began to panic.

Efforts were made the rescue Mr Lacaste including a mooring rope being lowered down to him in the hope that he would place it around his body.

While holding onto the rope, he was able to be manoeuvred to the port side ladder where skipper Andrew White descended and partially entered the water to help.

He succeeded in getting hold of Mr Lacaste’s left arm while he managed to grab a rung of the ladder but was washed off by a wave.

While further efforts were made by all members of the crew to recover the fisherman, he became weaker and increasingly incapacitated.

A Mayday distress call was transmitted and a lifebuoy was thrown out but he made no attempt to grab it.

HM Coastguard and a rescue helicopter arrived on scene around 50 minutes later and Mr Lacaste was flown to Gilbert Bain Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The inquiry into his death found that if he had not been standing on the transom or bulwark of the vessel he would not have fallen into the sea.

Evidence was heard that the owners of Copious had taken safety “very seriously” before the accident and had carried out “many” man overboard drills.

Sheriff Cruickshank, who made no recommendations, paid tribute to the fisherman who lived with his wife and family in Luzon.

“I would wish to record the fact that, in my judgement, all members of the crew of the FV Copious did all that they could to recover Edison Lacaste from the water as quickly as possible.

“Andrew White’s personal actions displayed a great deal of bravery.

“The crew attempted Edison Lacaste’s recovery in difficult circumstances.

“He was an experienced fisherman, respected member of the crew of the Copious, and a well-loved husband and father who is dearly missed by his family and friends.”

It was noted that his wife and children visit his grave every Sunday.

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