Local harbour master says Border Force officers were on the yacht but 'categorically denies' there was a chase

A man has died after falling from the mast of a yacht moored
at St Mary’s quayside, Isles of Scilly.

It is believed that the solo yachtsman was Dutch, aged in his 60s, and that the fall occurred after Border Force officers boarded the vessel.

However rumours of a chase have been denied.

Devon and Cornwall Police were alerted that a man had been seriously
injured after falling from the mast of a yacht, at approximately 8.30pm on Monday, 17 June, evening.

The casualty was taken to hospital but later died from
his injuries.

St Mary’s Harbourmaster Dale Clark described the incident as a ‘very sad, shocking tragedy’ and dismissed reports that there had been a chase before the fall.

Mr Clark said: ‘I arrived at the scene just as the paramedics got there.

‘It’s not true that there was a chase, we have heard reports of this. The vessel he was on was part of an inspection being carried out by the UK Border Force but they had been with him for some time.

‘It’s a very tragic and sad incident, one that has saddened and shocked us, we’re all a bit taken aback by it.’

RNLI rescue

Mr Clark said the Dutch solo sailor’s yacht had been towed into the harbour by the Royal National Lifeboat Instituition (RNLI) lifeboat on Sunday after getting into difficulty nine miles south west of Bishop Rock Lighthouse.

He said: ‘The single-handed yachtsman had had trouble with his rigging and was suffering from fatigue due to heavy weather, so the yacht was towed in by the RNLI on Sunday.’

There were restrictions to the St Mary’s Quay and access while the police carried out their investigations this morning but Mr Clark said those have all been lifted now.

He added: ‘The police are continuing to investigate the incident and we’ll continue to assist the police, taking our lead from them.’

Investigation underway

In a statement, the Devon and Cornwall Police say the yachtsman is ‘believed to be a Dutch national in his early sixties’ and ‘the yacht had been boarded as part of a Border Force operation shortly before the incident’.

The matter has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) by the Border Force.

A local investigation was carried out this morning but a spokesman for Devon and Cornwall Police said there were no updates at this stage.

A Border Force spokesman said: ‘We are assisting Devon and Cornwall Police with their investigation and the incident has been referred to the IPCC.’

(Pictures of Windrose, the yacht on which the Dutchman tragically fell from the mast, plus St Mary’s Harbour, Isles of Scilly and a Border Force vessel, all taken by Chris Hall www.scillyseascapes.com)