Tributes to fisherman Andrew Hay who lost life in accident on boat
Tributes have been paid to a Scottish fisherman who died aboard his vessel in Co Down earlier this week.
Andrew Hay (56), from St Fergus village near Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, is believed to have suffered a heart attack before slipping and falling down stairs.
He was aboard the Scottish-registered Artemis trawler which was docked in Kilkeel harbour on Monday afternoon.
Mr Hay was the skipper of the vessel which is understood to have been heading for waters off Newlyn in Cornwall to fish for prawns when engine problems forced the crew to stop off in Kilkeel.
Police, ambulance and air ambulance crews were called to the harbour on Monday, but Mr Hay was pronounced dead at the scene.
The circumstances surrounding his death are being investigated by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch.
A spokesman said inquiries were still at an early stage.
"We have sent two investigators to Kilkeel to investigate an accident involving the death of a crewman on the fishing vessel Artemis while alongside in port," he added.
Mr Hay is survived by his wife Sandra, son Andrew, daughter Sherrie, grandson Mikey and wider family circle.
Shocked fishing industry colleagues have said Mr Hay was "a very good and skilled skipper" and someone who "always enjoyed a laugh and was very well-liked".
Miriam Kemp from the Fishermen's Mission in Fraserburgh, where the Artemis vessel was registered, said Mr Hay's death had occurred in "tragic circumstances" and that her thoughts were with his devastated wife and family.
Andrew Locker, managing director of Lockers Trawlers whose vessels fish out of Peterhead, was among those who paid tribute to Mr Hay on social media.
"The fishing industry has lost an exceptional skipper and I've lost a very good friend," he tweeted. "All at Lockers Trawlers are devastated, our thoughts go out to Andrew Hay's family."
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, local SNP councillor Brian Topping said: "Fishing is a very dangerous occupation and I don't think any of us envy those who go out in all weather conditions to catch the food we eat.
"It is during times like this, when someone dies doing their job, that you realise that.
"My heartfelt sympathy, thoughts and prayers go out to Mr Hay's family, friends and the crew of his boat following their terrible loss."