Drowned after jump from boat

Details of how Peter Coyle died were revealed during a fatal accident inquiry
Details of how Peter Coyle died were revealed during a fatal accident inquiry

A fishery worker drowned after leaping out of a boat that was taking in water despite a colleague’s desperate attempt to save him.

Peter Coyle, who was from Bellshill, had been using the vessel to break ice in the pond at Quarter, near Hamilton.

However, a fatal accident inquiry heard he appeared to panic at the prospect of the boat sinking and plunged into the icy water despite being unable to swim and having no lifejacket.

Mark Sommerville, who ran the fishery, said he picked up a rope on the shore that was attached to the boat, fixed it to his car and tried to pull the boat in. However, the rope broke and, with water rising up the sides of the boat, Mr Coyle jumped overboard.

He was seen splashing about in the water for a short time, but then became motionless. Firemen called to the scene recovered his body.

The inquiry at Hamilton Sheriff Court heard Mr Coyle (57), a single man, of Wilkie Loan, Bellshill, was one of six brothers and sisters.

Previously he had worked in the hotel industry and was also at one time a professional singer.

The tragedy happened in January 2015. The boat was said to have been in poor condition. It had a hole in the hull from a previous incident that day, but the evidence was that despite its condition it would not have sunk.

There was also evidence that Mr Coyle had been wearing waders despite it being well known that these add to the dangers if a person ends up in the water.

Sheriff Shiona Waldron returned a formal verdict and cleared ambulance and fire personnel who had been critcised for their response. She said they had arrived “as quickly as possible”.