Bodies recovered from the Solway Harvester

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The Independent Online

The bodies of all seven men who drowned when their scallop dredger, the Solway Harvester, sank off the Isle of Man, were recovered by divers yesterday.

The bodies of all seven men who drowned when their scallop dredger, the Solway Harvester, sank off the Isle of Man, were recovered by divers yesterday.

Divers went into the vessel where it lay 38 metres down on the seabed, 10 miles off the island. The bodies, which were found on the gutting deck and in the sleeping quarters of the vessel, were transferred to a salvage vessel, CSO Wellservicer.

The crew's families, who flew to the Isle of Man from their homes in the south-west of Scotland on Thursday, were informed immediately.

Donald Gelling, the chief minister of the Isle of Man, said: "The feeling here is one of relief that the bodies of all seven victims of the tragedy were recovered. At this time our sympathy and thoughts are with the families. Everyone involved in the operation hopes that the news helps them in the grieving process.

"As far as the Isle of Man government is concerned, we are extremely relieved that we have been able to get the bodies for the inquest."

Minister the Rev Alexander Currie, travelled with the families to provide support. He said: "There were many tears and I joined them in those tears, there were tears of relief that all seven bodies had been found. There were prayers in church last Sunday that all seven would be brought home and I thank God those prayers were heard on their behalf.

"I have been with the families in their grief as a fellow traveller in this journey; it is not yet complete and will not be complete for years to come.

"Our desire was to bring the men home for a burial that would be appropriate to their memories."

The funerals are likely to take place next week. The men who died in the incident last month, all from the villages of the Isle of Whithorn, Whithorn and Garlieston in south-west Scotland, were skipper Andrew Craig Mills, 29, his brother Robin, 33, their cousin David, 17, Martin Milligan, 26, John Murphy, 22, David Lyons, 18, and Wesley Jolly, 17.

The Isle of Man government gave £1m in funding for the rescue operation.

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