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Purbeck Isle Death May Have Been Avoided - MAIB

Purbeck Isle 1

9:04am 2nd May 2013
(Updated 9:41am 2nd May 2013)

Incorrectly stored life rafts which then failed to open, could have contributed to the deaths of three fishermen lost at sea in the Purbeck Isle tragedy.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch published today says it was 'entirely possible' that the three men, David MacFarlane, Jack Craig and Robert Prowse, could have survived if the rafts had inflated correctly.

The report says the raft canister didn't fit properly into its cradle and extra lashings had been added to prevent it falling in heavy seas.

But when it was released the raft failed to float free and inflate as a result and sank to the sea bed.

The report also noted a lack of distress signal equipment.

The coastguard wasn't alerted for 7 hours as it wasn't fitted with an emergency position-indicating radio beacon or an alternative similar rescue device.

The boat sank in 50 metrers of water, south of Portland Bill on May 17th last year. Two bodies have been recovered, but the body of Mr Prowse still hasn't been found.

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