Frank Whyte, 69, died when his Drascombe lugger capsized in the Findhorn Bay area of Moray, Scotland after a "fierce squall". The emergency services also had to deal with seven other capsized sailing dinghies.
Frank Whyte died during the Nairn Sailing Club Open Day on 21 May, after his lugger capsized during a “fierce squall” in Findhorn Bay.
Seven other sailing dinghies also capsized, sparking a multi agency rescue operation.
Several people were rescued from the water before the Aberdeen Coastguard advised there was a report of an unresponsive person in the water. Whyte, who was 69, was brought ashore but died at the scene.
The crew of the Invergordon RNLI, the Kessock Lifeboat, the independent lifeboat Moray Inshore Rescue Organisation (MIRO) and the Aberdeen Coastguard were all involved.
At the time of the incident, there were reports of a “wild weather squall”, with winds gusting at 56 knots, as well as driving rain, hail and thunder and lightning.
Speaking of the squall, RNLI Kessock volunteer, helmsman Kenny Foggo said: “It was unbelievable conditions that literally came out of nowhere.
“It went from flat calm to storm force winds, thunder, lightening and hail so fierce we couldn’t see in almost an instant. After about 10 mins it was over and everything was completely calm again,” he concluded.
Whyte’s Drascombe lugger was eventually recovered and towed to Findhorn Sailing Club slipway.
The Invergordon RNLI deployed two crew members in dry suits to secure a rope to the vessel to right it with the assistance of MIRO Rescue and North 58 Sea Adventures ‘Buchaneer’ Rib.
A spokesman for Invergordon RNLI, Michael MacDonald, said: “What started as a calm day with sun breaking out, became a fierce squall which appeared in almost an instant, where visibility was hampered and weather conditions which can only be described as ‘unbelievable’ with thunder and lightning, heavy rain, hail, and driving winds.”
He continued: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the gentleman who sadly lost his life in what should have been a pleasurable sailing trip.”
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