Local News for Monday 11th April 2016

Islands mourn fishermen lost at sea
The islands are in mourning today after tragedy at sea claimed the lives of two men, with a third still missing. The UK Coastguard received a distress alert just before 3:45am on Saturday, when the emergency positioning beacon (EPIRB) of the Stornoway-registered FV Louisa was activated near Mingulay. Stornoway Coastguard search and rescue helicopter and Barra lifeboat were sent to the scene, and one man was recovered and taken immediately to hospital. Two other men were later recovered from the water but were sadly deceased. A fourth crew member remains unaccounted for. The fishing vessel had sunk at the scene. Searches for the missing fisherman continued for most of the weekend, with the rescue helicopter from Prestwick, coastguard volunteers from  Uist and Barra and other fishing vessels also joining the search, which included the coastline of Mingulay. Stornoway Coastguard volunteers provided back-up in Uist, and the Police Scotland Air Support Unit operated from Benbecula airport, which was opened to provide support.
Chief Inspector Alastair Garrow said: “All of the partners are determined to do everything they can to help the family and the commmunity deal with this tragedy. The next of kin of all the men have been informed. Police Scotland have an enquiry team working alongside other agencies and the known circumstances will be reported to the Procurator Fiscal. There will be further investigations necessary to fully establish what has happened.” Coastguard officials said an investigation would be carried out together with Police Scotland and the Marine Accident and Investigation Branch (MAIB). Mark Rodaway, National Maritime Operations Commander for UK Coastguard said: : "This has been a tragic incident which will impact on the local community. Our thoughts are with the families affected."


Yesterday Councillor Angus Campbell, leader of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, said: “It is a horrific thing to hear about such an accident. We all know the dangers of the sea and people right across the Western Isles will be mourning for the families today.”
The FV Louisa, SY30, is a 15-metre vivier crabber built in Cornwall in 2009 and operated out of Marvig in South Lochs.

Tragic death at piping contest
The Pipe Major Donald Macleod Memorial piping condition ended tragically on Friday night, when the father of one of the world-class competing pipers collapsed and died at the event.  Willie McCallum Senior had travelled up to Stornoway from Campbeltown to see his son, also Willie McCallum, come in as runner-up . The event’s MC, Dr John Smith, gave Mr McCallum CPR before paramedics arrived, but sadly it was later confirmed that he had died. He was 87. Piping News described Mr McCallum as ‘a dedicated servant of piping’ who would be sadly missed.
 
Top ten beaches
Beaches in Eriskay, Berneray and North Uist have been picked by the Daily Mail’s travel writers among the top ten in Scotland, with wild swimmers and holidaymakers rating the island’s beaches highly. West Beach in Berneray is described as ‘one of the best beaches in the whole of the UK,’ while Prince Charlie’s Beach in Eriskay is described as ‘outstanding’.
 
First win for Westside
As the Island football season kicked off on Friday evening, Westside scored three to Back’s nil in the first round of the Acres Boys Club Cup. All the goals were scored in the first half – two from Scott Graham  and one from Ali Barvas. The result takes them through to the semi-final. Tonight’s first-round matches see Lochs at home to Ness and Point in town against Aths – both kick-offs at 6.30pm. The match postponed from Friday between United and Carloway is to be played on Wednesday evening and on Friday it’s Aths v Lochs. League fixtures also begin on Friday.

Lewis Camanachd
Lewis Camanachd came agonisingly close to progressing in a cup contest, when they travelled to Oban on Saturday to meet Oban Lorn in the Sutherland Cup. At full time the score was Oban Lorn 1 - Lewis 1, the island team’s goal scored by Paul Duke. But after extra time, Oban Lorn had the win 2-0 on penalties
 
Rugby squad – close, but not close enough
There was a nail-biter from Stornoway rugby club, too, at the weekend, with the club away to Shetland for their crucial last match of the season at Lerwick. The squads were well-matched, but a score of 22-19 to Shetland now puts Stornoway irretrievably in the relegation zone, with the only club below them, Lochaber, holding three games in hand before the end of the season.