Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 15:32 UK

Barge death men named by police

The men became unconscious after entering a hold on the barge

Two men who died on a fish farm barge in Argyll have been named by police.

Maarten Pieter Den Heijer, 30, from Oban, and 45-year-old Robert MacDonald from Appin died on Loch Creran, a sea loch north of Oban, on Monday.

A third man, Campbell Files, 42, has been released from Lorn and Islands Hospital in Oban, where he was flown for treatment after the incident.

Police and fire crew specialists have been examining the vessel trying to establish the cause of the tragedy.

The emergency services were alerted at 1150 BST on Monday, after reports that three men had collapsed.

It was initially thought the victims had died after being overcome by noxious fumes, but coastguards later said they most likely suffocated in the hold of the barge.

Maarten Den Heijer and Robert MacDonald
Maarten Den Heijer and Robert MacDonald died in the incident

They said they believed rusting metal in a confined space had removed oxygen from the air.

Police have said post-mortems will be carried out in due course and a full report would be sent to the procurator fiscal.

One of the men who died, Robert McDonald, was a volunteer firefighter for the Argyll and Bute area with Strathclyde Fire and Rescue.

Chief Officer Brian Sweeney said: "Robert was one of the two men who tragically died while working on a barge on Loch Creran.

"Robert was a well respected member of the Appin Volunteer unit with which he served for eight years.

"Our thoughts are with Robert's family, friends and colleagues."

Scottish Sea Farms, which owns the barge, has about 300 employees and 44 sites across Scotland.

Inspectors from the Health and Safety Executive are expected to visit the barge.

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