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Fisherman was caught up in line and drowned

Date of incident: July 2015
Notice of incident number: 2015173550119
Employer: Master of fishing vessel

Incident summary
The master and one crewmember on a commercial fishing vessel were setting crab traps. The worker became entangled in the line and went overboard. The master of the vessel called for help using a cellphone. The worker was in the water for 8 to 10 minutes before the master managed to get him back onto the vessel. The unresponsive worker was taken to shore, where efforts to resuscitate him were not successful.

Investigation conclusions


  • Worker was caught up in the line and went overboard: The worker was caught up in the line and went overboard while the vessel was in motion. The worker subsequently drowned as he could not free himself.

Underlying factors

  • Inadequate emergency response: There was no retrieval system on the vessel to aid in getting the worker out of the water after he went overboard. The radio transceiver's digital selective calling (DSC) feature was not functional. The master contacted emergency dispatch but had difficulty communicating with them. The master did not have first aid certification and did not provide initial first aid.

Request the full report

Publication Date: Aug 2017 Asset type: Incident Investigation Report Summary NI number: 2015173550119