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Final search for fisherman gets underway

Karl Anderson's boat Kathleen at Baltasound pier

A FINAL search for missing Shetland fisherman Karl Anderson begins on Wednesday afternoon though hopes of finding him alive have now faded, according to the local coastguard.

A team of coastguard officers and volunteers from Mr Anderson’s native island of Unst have spent most of the past 48 hours scouring the island’s coastline for evidence of his whereabouts since he disappeared on Monday.

The 46 year old has not been seen since he set off in his 33 foot creel boat Kathleen on Monday morning from his home port of Baltasound.

The boat was seen drifting off Skaw that evening with the engine running, but no one on board.

A full scale air, sea and land search was launched involving Shetland coastguard helicopter SAR102, the Lerwick lifeboat and the Unst coastguard team, which spent the whole of Monday night looking for Mr Anderson.

The search was stood down late on Tuesday, but the Unst coastguard team of 10 officers supported by six local volunteers mustered again in the early hours of Wednesday to scan the island’s north coast from Swinna Ness on the east to Tonga on the west.

Coastguard sector manager John Webster said the local team, some of whom are related to Mr Anderson, had chosen to carry on searching even though any hopes of finding him alive have now gone.

“We would not have asked them to come out and do another search today, but they chose to come out. They are very tired, but they are mustering again this afternoon to do a final search,” Mr Webster said.

After standing down at 5pm on Tuesday having spent most of the previous 24 hours looking for the missing fisherman, they mustered again at 3am and carried on searching until 11am when they had a rest before one last effort in the afternoon.

The land-based team are combing the coastline with the help of one small inflatable boat and two salmon tenders, while other local boats have been searching inshore waters. The coastguard rescue helicopter was also on exercise in the area on Wednesday morning.

Mr Anderson had put his Kingfisher 33 fishing boat on the market, but had talked of buying a new and larger vessel to continue working.