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Tributes pour in for fisherman in Brora tragedy

By Mike Merritt

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An aerial view of Brora shore.
An aerial view of Brora shore.

Tributes have been paid to a shellfish fisherman who tragically died after he and his son capsized off a Sutherland harbour.

He has been named locally as Willie Sutherland.

Mr Sutherland, who was in his 50s, was airlifted to hospital and police confirmed on Monday night that he had sadly died.

His son, Liam, 23, also from Brora, managed to make his own way to shore and was released after being checked over on scene.

The alarm was raised around 3.50pm on Monday at Brora Harbour.

The pair of lobster fishermen were off the mouth of the River Brora, said coastguards.

East Sutherland and Edderton councillor Deirdre Mackay said:This was such a tragic accident and one which casts a long shadow over our close knit community. Our thoughts are very much with the family at this sad time.'

On Liam's Facebook people paid tribute to his father.

Ben Mackay wrote:"Willie was loved by everyone who met him, always had time for everybody, thinking of you and your family, Liam Sutherland."

Joan Macrae Macdonald said:"Sending the Sutherland family deepest condolences on the tragic passing of my nephew Willie."

Martin Black added:"Martin Black I’m so sorry mate - I only had the pleasure of knowing your dad for a short time but he was a truly lovely guy who really made me feel welcome."

While David Sutherland Halstead said:" Willie was a really lovely and genuine guy who was well loved by all who knew him. It is a tragic loss and we are all shattered. Love to you and all the family at this difficult time."

Janice Macrae wrote:"I have no words Liam Sutherland . Willie was one of the most genuine lovely people ever. We are all devastated for you."

Alison Sutherland said:"Utterly devastated for you all so sad your dad was an utterly amazing man a true gentleman and loved by this whole village xx it'd break anyone's heart this news xx"

And David Gunn added:"very sad Liam, was one of the best always left a bag of crab toes on my back door and a very good Brora Rangers supporter like yourself, thinking of you all."

A spokesman for Aberdeen Coastguard, which co-ordinated the rescue, said college student Liam - a former pupil of Golspie High School - managed to make his own way ashore.

But the father was picked up from the water by another creel boat.

He was airlifted by the Inverness Coastguard search and rescue helicopter to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness.

But a spokeswoman for Police Scotland said it "can confirm that a man has died after a boat capsized in the harbour at Brora."

"Police were informed of the incident shortly before 4.10pm and the man was airlifted to Raigmore Hospital where he sadly died. Another man was treated by paramedics at the scene for minor injuries.

"The man’s next of kin have been informed and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal."

The coastguard said it had received a 999 call asking to assist the capsized vessel outside Brora - and initially there were "possibly three or four people in the water."

Dornoch and Wick coastguard rescue teams were sent as well as the independent Dornoch inshore lifeboat.

The Wick team was sent back en route when the incident was resolved.

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