Thousands of pounds raised for heartbroken families of men who died in River Clyde tugboat tragedy

A FUNDRAISER for the devastated families of two men who died in a tragic tugboat sinking has reached more than £5,000.

George Taft, 65, and Ian Catterson, 73, lost their lives when their vessel, known as Biter, capsized on the River Clyde off Greenock on February 24.


George Taft died when the tugboat he was on capsized
Ian Catterson also lost his life in the tragedy


Ian Catterson also lost his life in the tragedyCredit: PA
The vessel, known as Biter, has been recovered from the Clyde riverbed


The vessel, known as Biter, has been recovered from the Clyde riverbedCredit: Kenny Ramsay

The following day their bodies were recovered by specialist divers after a desperate rescue operation the previous night was stood down.

The Biter, operated by Clyde Marine Services, overturned while helping tow the Hebridean Princess cruise ship into harbour at Custom House Quay.

Widespread tributes were paid to experienced Mr Taft, from Greenock, and Mr Catterson, of Millport, after they were formally identified.

A fundraiser was also launched to help their heartbroken families.

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A JustGiving page was set up by Brian Burt, 71, from Greenock.

The thoughtful retired marine radio engineer posted: “I feel I must do something to help the families of this tragedy. No one should go to work, and never see their loved ones again.”

He added: “These funds are to help the family’s with ongoing financial support at this difficult time.”

The page has raised £5,130, surpassing its target of £5,000.

A huge search operation was launched after the alarm was raised around 3.30pm on February 24.

Mercy teams were seen banging on the upturned hull in a desperate attempt to find the stricken sailors and called out to them before the boat sank shortly after 4pm.

Coastguard, the RNLI and officers from Faslane naval base and Police Scotland’s Dive and Marine Unit and Air Support Unit all supported the search effort.

Last weekend the tug was raised from the riverbed by a special crane ship.

The Lara 1 sailed from Liverpool to raise the vessel and a 200m exclusion zone and drone ban were put in place while the operation took place.

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