By Bill Heaney
Two bodies have been recovered by divers carrying out an underwater search after a tugboat capsized in the River Clyde.
They were removed from the water on Saturday – almost 24 hours after the boat sank in the Firth of Clyde opposite Helensburgh close to Greenock, sparking a major search and rescue operation.
Police Scotland, the coastguard and RNLI had all been called out to the scene after the boat went under the water at the Custom House Quay in Greenock.
It had been understood two people were on the boat when it capsized.
On Friday evening, a coastguard spokesman told how its rescue teams from both Helensburgh and Greenock had been scrambled, along with a lifeboat from Helensburgh RNLI and the coastguard helicopter from Prestwick.
The spokesman added: “Multiple vessels on the Clyde in the vicinity of the incident also responded, including an MoD Police vessel.”
Police Scotland confirmed on Friday that officers from the force’s dive and marine unit and the air support unit had been involved in the search operation.
Eyewitnesses told BBC Scotland they had seen the tug escorting the Hebridean Princess cruise ship into the harbour at about 15:30 when it was apparently pulled over.
Images from the scene showed rescue teams in inflatables and a police boat surrounding the capsized tug while a helicopter hovered overhead.
He added: “At that point I contacted the coastguard and was asked to go and keep eyes, so I parked up and watched.
“Within 12 minutes the first coastguard vessel came. At that point the boat was still capsized with a hull visible in the water.
“I witnessed them bashing on the hull, I guess trying to see if there was any signs inside. Unfortunately then the boat went down a short time afterwards.”
He said there were a number of boats in the area, as well as a helicopter, but he had not seen anyone being pulled out.
Police cordoned off the area around the harbour.
A Police Scotland spokesperson said: ““Inquiries are ongoing, assisted by partners, to establish the full circumstances.”
A spokesperson said: “Coastguard Rescue Teams from Helensburgh and Greenock, a lifeboat from Helensburgh RNLI and the Coastguard helicopter from Prestwick were sent to assist and searched the area.
“Multiple vessels on the Clyde in the vicinity of the incident also responded, including an MOD Police vessel.”
Top picture: The boat sank in the Firth of Clyde and sparked a major search and rescue mission.