An experienced salmon farmer died after being crushed between a boat and a barge, as a frantic colleague tried to save him.
Clive Hendry, 58, plunged into the water from a feeding barge ladder while trying to move between the vessels.
A fellow fish worker grabbed his life jacket, but Mr Hendry slipped out of it and into the water, a fatal accident report from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) said.
The Ardintoul assistant manager was pulled from the water, but could not be revived.
The tragedy happened on February 18 last year at Ardintoul Point in Loch Alsh in the Scottish Highlands.
His partner Catriona Lockhart said he loved his job, telling the BBC : “It is just devastating to me to think he had the most horrific death.”
Heartbroken Ms Lockhart described Mr Henry as a “fun loving, generous and kind guy, who would do anything to help anybody”.
When he wasn’t working, he loved fishing, she said, stating: “He loved his job, loved fishing, loved animals.
“He was just praying for the day he could retire and do his fishing.”
Now a raft of safety recommendations has been put in place to prevent similar incidents unfolding again.
Salmon farming firm Mowi Scotland Ltd has been advised to “fully implement a safety management system across its fleet, as well as ensuring that it has appropriate marine expertise to oversee its marine operations”, said the MAIB.
Its report found that:
- The transfer of workers by boat had not been properly risk assessed, and safe systems of work had not been put in place.
- Crews had not conducted regular “man overboard” recovery drills and were not familiar with the vessel’s recovery equipment.
- Mowi Scotland Ltd did not have an effective marine safety management system and lacked staff with the experience to oversee its marine operations.
- Mr Hendry “did not appreciate the risk he was taking and was able to step across because the bulwark gate had been left in the open position and there were no crew on hand to supervise the transfer”.
The report notes that safety recommendations do not create a presumption of blame or liability.
It added that Mowi has introduced new equipment and training for man overboard scenarios and updated its risk assessments around moving between boats and lifejackets as well as undertaking other safety measures.
In a statement Mowi said: “Clive had been a truly valued member of our team for 12 years and we all continue to be deeply affected by his death.
“Our sympathies go to Clive’s family, friends and colleagues.
“As detailed in the MAIB accident report, preventative actions were immediately implemented and we are now reviewing the learnings from this report that include two recommendations made by the MAIB.”