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Fisherman drowns in vain bid to save friend from sea

Two fishermen drowned yesterday when one fell from a pier and the other tried torescue him.

Murdo Morrison, 45, fell from the pier at Carbost on the Isle of Skye as he made his way to their boat, the Stornowayregistered Astra, in the early hours of yesterday.

His friend, Donald John Macleod, 33, jumped in to try to save him but both perished as they got into difficulties in force seven winds and heavy snow showers.

A big air and sea search was launched and a lifeboat later recovered the body of one of the men 200 yards from the pier. The Coastguard Coastal Rescue team, which had been searching the shore, found the second body four hours later, just before 12.30pm.

A spokeswoman for the Coastguard said: "The body of the second fisherman was found submerged 20 yards from the stern of the boat.

"The weather was so bad and so bitter that they both must have become very cold very quickly. The conditions were horrendous, with the wind, rain and snow."

The men were named by police as Mr Macleod from Knock, Point, and Mr Morrison, 45, fromKershader, South Lochs, both on the Island of Lewis. Mr Morrison was married with a five-year-old child.

Mr Macleod had been a member of the Astra crew for a year.

Mr Morrison, a mechanic who had sailed with the vessel several times, was relieving another crew member.

Relatives of the dead men were visited yesterday by the port missionary, John Hamilton, of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.

Angus MacIver, the watch manager for Stornoway Coastguard, said: "Given the time of the night, the temperatures and the wind-chill factor, the water would have been very cold. We would like to extend our sympathies to the friends and families of both of the fishermen."