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Jinxed trawler puts out double mayday.

A FRENCH fishing boat cost British taxpayers pounds 192,000 in two emergency call-outs.

The trawler Bison docked in Stornoway early yesterday after sending out two maydays in less than 60 hours when crewmen were injured in the north Atlantic.

A coastguard helicopter and an RAF Nimrod were called out on each occasion after the 160ft Bison made emergency calls to the French coastguard at Etel, who then called Stornoway coastguard.

The first mission was scrambled at 10am on Monday while the Bison was 60 miles north-west of Rockall, 250 miles east of Lewis.


In an eight-hour flight, the Stornoway coastguard helicopter flew to the Bison, winched off a crewman with an injured eye and returned to Stornoway. An RAF Nimrod based at Kinloss provided cover for the helicopter.

At 6.15pm on Wednesday, the Bison sent out another distress call, this time for a crewman with a gashed arm.

The coastguard crew again took to the air, this time heading for a point 107 miles north of the Butt of Lewis.

But the pilot decided the conditions were too dangerous to attempt a winch and the crewman stayed on the Bison.

Both crewmen were yesterday treated at the Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway.

The call-out cost is based on the Coastguard S-61 helicopter flying for almost 12 hours at a cost of pounds 6000 an hour and the Nimrod for six hours at pounds 20,000 an hour.

Coastguards said they had no criticism of the Bison's Filipino crew but said it was rare to have two rescues in such a short time.
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Author:Macaskill, Jamie
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 17, 2000
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