A north-east skipper who was airlifted from his sinking boat alongside his crew today thanked the emergency services.
James Cowie was working on board the Fraserburgh-registered Ocean Quest when it began taking on water in the early hours of yesterday.
The crew tried to pump the water out of the vessel, helped by four other boats working nearby.
After it became clear the water could not be moved, the decision was taken to airlift the five men from the sinking boat.
The coastguard was called out at 5.30am and their helicopter winched the fishermen to safety shortly before 8am. They were taken to Inverness.
The incident happened around 70 miles north-east of Fraserburgh and there were no injuries as a result.
Mr Cowie, whose father owns the boat, said he was in the wheelhouse when an alarm started going off.
The 37-year-old, who is now back home in Gardenstown, said water was “gushing” into the boat when he went to check after the alarm was triggered.
Mr Cowie said: “The alarm went off and I went down below.
“The water seemed to be gushing from the bottom so we tried the main pumps, but the water kept coming.
“There were other boats standing by and we just got airlifted. Boats can be replaced, people can’t.
“I just thank and appreciate everybody who tried to help and all the other guys who got us out.
“Everybody did a good job and I was very impressed.
“The scariest bit for me was getting winched up to the helicopter.
“There had been a lot of work done on the boat in the last few years and it was like brand new.”
A HM Coastguard spokesman confirmed the boat sank after the alarm was raised.
He said: “We were called shortly after 5.30am.
“The five crew were safely airlifted from the vessel by a coastguard helicopter from Inverness.
“We did have some boats on standby at the incident in case they were needed.
“Crews did attempt to pump out water but the decision was taken at 7.55am to evacuate the crew from the boat.
“No one was injured. We received notification at 9.15am the boat had submerged.”