NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

MCA rejects Pentland Firth diver search criticism

Ivan Doychev Image copyright RNLI
Image caption Ivan Doychev said the lights from searching ships and helicopters gave him hope

Claims a diver rescued in the Pentland Firth could have been found much sooner if local advice had been followed have been rejected by the Marine and Coastguard Agency.

Ivan Doychev was rescued in May after spending 11 hours in the water.

Fisherman Hamish Mowatt said at the time rescuers were directing the search in the wrong area.

The MCA reviewed the operation and said it had used search planning software and local knowledge.

The 40-year old scallop diver from Bulgaria was reported missing by the dive boat Fair Morn.

He was eventually rescued by a passing sail training vessel.

Grateful for contact

Fisherman Mr Mowatt, from South Ronaldsay, has fished in the Pentland Firth for more than 40 years.

He told BBC Radio Orkney at the time that the diver had been found "despite the search operation not because of it".

The MCA said: "The search plan for the incident took into account information from our own search planning software as well as detailed knowledge received by local lifeboat crews and fishermen.

"We are grateful that Mr Mowatt contacted us during the search and rescue mission - it was the right thing to do and we would encourage anyone with information on an incident to do exactly the same."

Mr Doychev said he was kept going by the sight of helicopters and boats searching for him as he drifted in the Pentland Firth.

Image copyright Richard Smith
Image caption The RNLI released a map showing the track followed by its Thurso lifeboat during the search operation

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