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The BBC's Andrew Cassell
"A reminder of the dangers faced by fishermen everytime they go to sea"
 real 56k

Eleanor Bradford reports
"After 13 hours in the freezing water, finding one man alive is a miracle"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 6 March, 2001, 17:32 GMT
Six dead after trawler sinks
Map of search and rescue operation
Six fishermen have been found dead after a trawler sank in the Atlantic.

Ten other crew members were rescued after the German-registered Hansa went down 250 miles west of Mull.

Coastguards said one of the men was "extremely lucky" to be alive after he spent more than 12 hours in the freezing water.

But their search operation was being stood down on Tuesday afternoon after the sixth body was found.

Hansa survivors
Survivors were suffering from hypothermia
Relatives were being informed as the bodies were taken to Benbecula on the Western Isles.

The 10 survivors were also taken to the Scottish island, where the last man rescued was said to be suffering from severe hypothermia in a medical centre.

A massive search was launched after the Hansa sank with 16 men on board in heavy seas in the Atlantic.

Coastguards received a distress signal from the 31ft vessel at about 2310GMT on Monday.

Nine of the crew managed to make it to a life raft, and were airlifted individually to safety in 15ft seas.

Cause not clear

However, their rescue sparked fears for the remainder of the crew.

John Griffiths, district controller at Clyde coastguard, said all of the crew had taken to the water when the vessel began to sink but seven had not made it to a life raft.

It is not yet clear what had caused the Hansa to sink.

The final survivor was spotted at Tuesday lunchtime by a Royal Air Force Nimrod aircraft.

It dropped a survival pack containing a life raft from its bomb bay.

Nine fishermen were winched from a life raft
The man, who had spent about 15 hours in the icy seas, was seen to unravel the package and climb into the dinghy.

He was picked up by a helicopter and flown to safety.

Mr Griffiths said the man was "extremely lucky" to be alive.

RAF spokesman Michael Mulford said: "He really must have the survival instinct - this is quite exceptional in the history of search and rescue operations."

The first group of survivors was also taken to Benbecula and all were said to suffering from mild hypothermia.

Fifteen of the crew - who were fishing for sea bass - were Spanish, while the captain was German.

One of the owners of the vessel is flying to Benbecula, and an investigation is to be launched by the company.

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See also:

06 Mar 01 | Scotland
'Lucky to be alive'
06 Mar 01 | Scotland
Fishing vessel survivor located
13 Feb 01 | Scotland
Fishermen airlifted to safety
29 Nov 00 | Scotland
Fishermen saved from sinking ship
04 Nov 00 | Scotland
Crew of sinking vessel rescued
29 Oct 00 | Scotland
Crew rescued from cargo ship
16 Oct 00 | Scotland
Ferry passengers and crew rescued
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