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BBC Scotland's Willie Johnston reports
"Gales and heavy swells have hampered the lift"
 real 28k

Willie Johnston reports
"Experts are hoping for a break in the current weather before proceeding"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 1 February, 2000, 18:10 GMT
Third body found on trawler

manx firemen Isle of Man fire and rescue team is on board the salvage ship

Divers have found a third body on the wreck of the trawler which sank in the Irish Sea three weeks ago with the loss of all seven crew.

The body was located below decks as preparations continued to lift the Solway Harvester in an operation not now expected to take place until late on Tuesday night at least - exactly three weeks since it went down.

Gale-force winds and a heavy sea swell have delayed the lift but conditions are expected to abate.

wellservicer The Wellservicer at the scene

Once the Solway Harvester is lifted above the surface by the diving support vessel Wellservicer, a volunteer team of Isle of Man Fire Brigade officers will use cutting gear to access the vessel.

Deputy chief fire officer Alan Christian said there were three parts to his men's role.

"The first will be to create a safe working area for other people who are going to go on board the ship," he said.

"The second will be to search the shop to see if we can locate the seven missing men and the third will then be to bring the men up through the ship onto the Wellservicer."

Mr Christian said it would be "an emotional" job and that there would be a full debrief of the officers when they returned to the Isle of Man.

Divers task

The teams divers' final task has been to remove the catch of seven tons of scallops and put air bags inside the hold.

The Kirkcudbright-registered vessel - which had a crew of seven - sank in heavy seas on 11 January, 11 miles east of the Isle of Man.

Dive teams from the Wellservicer have been working round the clock since Saturday night to secure the vessel and make it ready for the lift. No major damage has been found to the Harvester's hull.

Working in near zero visibility, they have cleared 176 bags of scallops - seven tonnes - from the hold.

Solway Harvester Seven men died when the vessel sank

Chief Inspector Dudley Butt, of the Isle of Man Constabulary, said: "There was no indication of any damage when she was lifted up.

"Had she been holed or breached the divers would have had to effect repairs to make her seaworthy and watertight for the lifting.

"Divers are currently clearing the fish room and removing any sharp objects and other obstructions which may hamper the process to re-float the wreck."

Quick inquest

He said that, once the bodies have been brought ashore, they would be identified and an inquest completed without delay to allow families to return home with the bodies.

Mr Butt said: "Hopefully that will happen within 24 hours of the bodies coming ashore."

Divers spotted a body early on Sunday. Another had been seen earlier when underwater cameras were sent down to survey the wreck.

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Trawler sinking
The unfolding of the Solway Harvester story

See also:
30 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Second Harvester body located
14 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Solway Harvester: A tale of tragedy
29 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Storms hit salvage operation
31 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Harvester hull 'undamaged'

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