Sunken Yarmouth Navigator raised from Plymouth harbour

Image caption,
The Yarmouth Navigator had been underwater for nearly a month

A former Royal Navy vessel which sank in a Plymouth harbour with the loss of its captain has been raised from the seabed.

The Yarmouth Navigator, built in 1943, sank on 30 January after sailing from Dartmouth.

The body of its captain, Commander Robert Tallack, 67, from Somerset, was found on board after it went down.

An inquest into his death has been opened and adjourned and the sinking is being investigated.

The vessel was raised at about 1630 GMT on Monday after a week-long operation to prepare it.

Steve Rowe, operations director for Falmouth Divers, said straps were placed underneath the hull to cradle it.

Then 18 airbags with a combined lift capacity of 180 tonnes were inflated to bring it to the surface.

Mr Rowe said the vessel was in a "poor state" and there were fears it could have broken up but the operation went "exactly to plan".

He said: "We were very mindful of the tragic loss.

"You don't expect to lose your life on a Sunday afternoon on the River Plym."

Mr Roue said he did not know what would happen to the Yarmouth Navigator now.

Capt Tim Charlesworth, Cattewater harbour master, said: "You hope things like this don't happen very often.

Image caption,
Commander Tallack was sailing the former minesweeper to Plymouth for a friend

"The operation was very successful, it went very well."

Commander Tallack, an experienced mariner, had sailed the former naval minesweeper to Plymouth for a friend who had been hoping to restore it.

It is believed he went back on board when it began to sink to retrieve belongings.

Three other crewmen survived the sinking.

It is understood the owner of the boat had only bought it 48 hours earlier.

Marine lawyer Charles Hattersley told the BBC the inquiry into the accident would centre on the marine survey report and the extent to which the boat was seaworthy.

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