A fisherman’s life has been saved by marine distress signals after an accident in Iceland, which proved fatal for the survivor’s colleague.

The two fishermen were in small fishing boat which capsized off the east coast of Iceland in December. Neither had the chance to send a radio distress call. One of them managed to free a liferaft and fire marine distress signals and handflares, which were spotted on the coast. A lifeboat saved him two or three hours later. The other fisherman sadly did not survive.

“The death is particularly sad as it is Iceland’s only fatal marine accident in the past two years,” says Keith Bradford, product manager for Pains Wessex and Comet marine distress signals. “The other fisherman’s life was unquestionably saved because he was able to fire the rockets and flares. Our distress signals are designed to withstand exceptional weather conditions and to operate even after immersion in water.”

The rescue follows a similar, earlier incident when German fisherman Norbert Fischer was rescued from the chilling Baltic Sea by the DGzRS search and rescue service after igniting a Comet handflare even though it had been submerged. He got into trouble when his fishing cutter sank after net cases moved onto one side, causing the boat to take on too much water.

Pains Wessex and Comet products for the commercial fishing sector include:

  • Handflares
  • Red parachute signal rockets
  • Manoverboards
  • Orange smoke signals
  • Day and night signals
  • Linethrowers
  • Personal and compact miniflares

The comprehensive range of distress signals is available through a global network of distributors in more than 70 countries. They are specified by the world’s navies, merchant fleets, fishing vessels, rescue services, airlines and leisure craft.

Pains Wessex and Comet are brands of Chemring Marine Ltd. based in Fareham, UK, which is part of Chemring Group PLC. The company is the world’s leading supplier of SOLAS, MED and USCG approved marine distress signals to the commercial marine market, including fishing, and leisure marine sector.