Brixham fisherman hero Joe Moore relives rescue
A HERO 'rookie' fisherman has been praised in an official report for saving his life and those of his two crew mates seconds before their trawler sank.
The Brixham-based beam trawler the Betty G sank in July last year after snagging one of her nets while fishing some 10 miles off Lyme Bay, Dorset.
Skipper Stuart Greene, Max Didlick and Joe Moore (pictured) managed to launch and scramble aboard the life raft as the vessel started to go under, only to find it was still tethered.
Now an official investigation from the Marine Accident Investigation Board has revealed how the quick-thinking actions of Joe, 22, made the difference between life and death. He remains unassuming about the role he played.
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He has spoken for the first time since the report was published and said: "I don't know why or how it happened. I just did it. It was that or we would all have died. I was scared to die."
And his mother, Jacky, said: "I'm really proud of him. I know what happened played on his mind for some time."
The MAIB report revealed that without his quick actions to free the life raft, it would have been pulled under the waves by the sinking trawler.
"By 1.45am, the three men had boarded the life raft and were looking for the knife to cut the painter," the MAIB report said.
"From their sea survival training, they expected to locate the knife on one of the inflatable tubes near the entrance, but they could not find it.
"The younger crewman (Joe Moore) climbed out of the raft and made his way along the starboard side of Betty G to the gallows, where he retrieved a knife. He returned to the raft and cut the painter. Shortly afterwards the Betty G sank.
"The life raft undoubtedly saved the lives of the three crew, and this accident is a graphic reminder of the benefits of carrying such equipment."
Joe has since returned to sea working on larger trawler boats.
Speaking from his Brixham home, he said the incident last July still haunted him.
But the near-death experience has also changed his outlook on life.
The crewman who now works onboard the Marine, said: "I'm still fishing. But I work on one of the biggest trawlers in the Bay. I feel safer on it. People think I'm crazy to have gone back to sea. I know my mum's always tracking the boat to see where it is. She hates me going back to sea. All my friends are a bit scared for me too.
"The incident made me think about life and death. How quickly it can happen."
The three men spent more than 10 hours in the life raft awaiting rescue after neither of the emergency beacons onboard were triggered.
The MAIB found the Betty G had capsized 'due to a significant weight imbalance between the beam trawls caused by the load in one net suddenly releasing'.