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BBC Scotland's Willie Johnston reports
"The images from the underwater pictures are good"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 19 January, 2000, 19:29 GMT
Trawler lift plans studied

Mansal 18 The Mansal 18 has returned to harbour

Experts are considering ways to lift the wreck of the trawler which sank in the Irish Sea with the loss of its seven crew.

One body has been located in the Solway Harvester by remote-controlled cameras sent down from a survey vessel 11 miles off the coast of the Isle of Man.

At a news conference in Douglas after the Mansal 18 returned to harbour, Chief Inspector Dudley Butt said the body had not yet been identified but it was hoped that would take place in due course.

Camera screens Experts are studying pictures of the wreck
Chief Insp Butt said the Isle of Man Government was exploring ways of raising the ship if that was possible and was currently searching for a salvage ship to carry out the task.

"For the last two or three days the government emergency planning officer has been making inquiries to find a vessel that will be able to raise it," he said.

"We will have to go outside the Isle of Man to find one. That is the only delay."

Bodies 'priority'

Chief Constable Mike Culverhouse said the wreck was at the safe limits of depth for divers but police and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch were exploring the best ways of reaching it.

"The priority is to recover the bodies of the crew," he said.

"We are determining the safest and most expeditious way of doing that. We are actively looking at all the options."

Solway Harvester crew
Skipper Craig Mills, 29
Robin Mills, 33
David Mills, 18
John Murphy, 22
Martin Milligan, 26
David Lyons, 17
Wesley Jolly, 17
Mr Culverhouse said raising the vessel was one of the options available. Given the difficulties of diving, this was being "actively" considered.

He said it was thought the other six bodies would be on the wreck although only about 40% of the interior was surveyed by video camera.

The camera was put in through a window of the gutting deck where the body was found.

Mr Culverhouse said the video footage was now being considered by the marine accident investigators who would then decide the next stage of the inquiry.

The survey vessel has now completed its work and and is due to sail for its home port of Aberdeen.

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Trawler sinking
The unfolding of the Solway Harvester story

See also:
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Body spotted on sunken trawler
18 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Cameras film sunken trawler
16 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Tears and prayers for lost fishermen

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