Rescued after being lost at sea

David and Jim
David and Jim

Two Mearns fishermen, who had been feared lost at sea, told a press conference in Montrose Police Station that they had always been confident that they would be rescued eventually.

Despite having been lost at sea for two days, Inverbervie fishermen Jim Reid (75) and his grandson David Irvine (35), made light of their situation, joking their way through the press conference after being brought ashore in the Montrose lifeboat just after lunchtime on Thursday.

Their ordeal had been caused by their compass sticking which, coupled with the thick fog on Tuesday morning, saw them lose their bearings entirely. Without any means of knowing their location they had sailed some 50 miles south west of Gourdon, their home port, but despite their predicament the pair said they always expected to be found. The pair were equipped with life jackets and also rockets which had been fired on the first night without being spotted. David normally would have had his mobile phone, which would have given them a position thanks to a GPS system, with him but had left it behind.

Unaware that the search had been called off, they had existed on two biscuits, a litre and a half of water and a flask of tea. After the first day they had rationed the water. They saw several large ships but these had been too far away to make contact with but had eventually been spotted by the Buckie registered Sylvia Bowers. Even then they had almost failed to be rescued. Explaining how he reacted when he saw it, Jim said he “just about walked to it” before telling how, despite the fact he was displaying a red ball, an indication that there was something wrong, and waving frantically, they had at first simply waved back and sailed on. If they had been forced to stay at sea for much longer they would have had to conserve their fuel. At night, they had run their small hauler engine to keep heat. Jim thanked those who had risked themselves in the search and he said he had no argument about the search having been called off, pointing out that 48 hours had passed without any sign of them. He said he had learned from the experience, “always to carry back up.”

Neither of the fishermen seemed to be too phased by their experiences and said they intended to go to sea again, although Jim said: “It depends on what my wife says!”