Monday, December 18, 2006
Police officers yesterday flew out to a ship in the middle of the North Sea where a crewman fell overboard. A massive air and sea search was launched after Christopher McGonigle, 35, vanished from the DSND Pelican, wearing just jeans and a T-shirt. The ten boats and two helicopters involved failed to find any trace of him, as did hi-tech underwater vehicles. Grampian Police have now launched a missing person's inquiry and were flown out to the boat, located 143 miles east of Aberdeen, with officials from the Health and Safety Executive. A spokeswoman for oil contractors Subsea 7, which own the Pelican, said: "The police were talking to staff and touring the vessel.
DSND PelicanThey were trying to get out all the information they need for their inquiry. That is the normal procedure in these kinds of circumstances." Mr McGonigle, a remote operated vehicle operator from Northern Ireland, had been on the Pelican for several weeks and was supposed to spend Christmas on the boat. It had been sitting in the Blane Field for just a few days when he vanished. He was last seen at about 3am in the morning and concerned colleagues started looking for him. Despite searches of the ship he could not be found so the Coastguard was informed and a search got underway at 4:30am. It is thought Mr McGonigle was swept into the North Sea, where the temperature was believd to be around 10C, by a two-metre swell.