Torness incident: Tributes paid to local fisherman who died after falling from his boat near Dunbar

Tributes are pouring in for a local fisherman who died on Sunday after falling from his boat off the coast near Dunbar.

By Beth Murray
Monday, 3rd May 2021, 6:11 pm

The 64-year-old fisherman, named locally as Peter Gray, fell from his creel boat into the sea on the afternoon of Sunday, May 2.

Following an extensive search by emergency services and local fishermen, Mr Gray was found and winched from the water by helicopter near Torness at around 5.50pm.

He was sadly pronounced dead when he arrived at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

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Following the sad news of his death, local labour councillor Norman Hampshire, said: “Peter fished out of the Cove harbour which is just a few miles along the coast from Dunbar, he’s been fishing there for what must be about 40 years now, so he’s a really experienced fisherman.

“Obviously the fishing community here is very close-knit so all the local fishermen knew Peter, this is a real loss.

"I don't know exactly what happened but it's a real tragedy and it will have an impact on everyone connected to the industry in Dunbar.”

Mr Hampshire continued: "For his family and his friends, it's a tragedy and when these things happen it brings home how dangerous a job it is that these people do everyday.

Dunbar’s all-weather and inshore lifeboats were tasked with helping to search for Peter Gray following the discovery of his empty creel boat. (Picture: Ian Wilson/Dunbar RNLI)

"And a lot of them do operate their creel boats on their own, like Peter, and it's incredibly dangerous, and tragedy has happened here.

"Who knows what happened to Peter but once you're out of the boat the water is so cold and the chances of survival are really limited.

"It's just a tragedy.”

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A fisherman has been found dead after an empty vessel was discovered a mile northeast of Torness. (Picture credit: RNLI Dunbar Lifeboats)

Other people have taken to social media to share their condolences, with one person writing: “So sad, deepest condolences go out to the family, friends and the fishing community.”

Another said: “Heartbreaking! Our fisherman don’t get enough credit for the risks they take in the name of their trade.”

Someone else commented: “Saddened to be reading about this just now. We were out at Thorntonloch yesterday and saw the lifeboat. I assumed a training exercise as the sea was calm. Thoughts go out to the family & friends.”

Quentin Dimmer, Dunbar Harbour Master, said that while he didn't personally know Mr Gray, he was struck by the way the Dunbar fishing community rallied together to try to find him when the news that he was missing broke.

Mr Dimmer said: "When the Dunbar fishermen heard that Peter was missing a lot of the boats went straight out to join the search party and that’s when you really saw the community coming together, I was really struck by the response, I find it quite touching.

"Obviously everybody was hopeful that he would be found alive but unfortunately that wasn't the case.

"It's a loss specifically for Cove Harbour where he fished, but he has family members here in Dunbar, and he was well-known within the fishing community.”

Mr Dimmer added: "It comes as shock to many people but the feeling I'm getting from a lot of the fishermen is that it's a reminder as to how dangerous their profession can be and the risks that they take on a daily basis which often just go unnoticed."

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