Wife pays tribute to ‘great husband’ following tragedy at Loch Creran oyster farm

Hugo Vajk, 62, was one of five people killed at work in the agricultural sector in Scotland in the past 12 months. NO_T02_Hugo Vajk

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A Dunbeg businessman who had died following an incident at Loch Creran on Sunday has been described as a ‘great husband’ by his widow.

Hugo Vajk, 62, who owned the award-winning Caledonian Oyster Co Ltd with his wife Judith, was working when a member of staff found him in the water.

The Frenchman, who moved to the area in 1995 with Judith to set up the farm, was subsequently airlifted to the Lorn and Islands Hospital in Oban, but later died.

Judith said: ‘He was a great husband and he was a well respected oyster farmer. He knew his job inside out.

‘He wasn’t Scottish, but he loved living up here and he loved spending time with his children.

‘He loved sailing. He was a member of Oban Sailing Club. He raced on a boat called the Hot Toddy with Alison MacNab. They did quite well as a boat.’

The circumstances of the incident are still unclear, but reports have been sent to the procurator fiscal and a post-mortem is to be carried out.

Judith added: ‘He was just working at low tide. We are not really sure. He ended up in the water and [a colleague] could not get him out. We are all just shocked about it.’

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said today: ‘At 4.40pm [Sunday] police were alerted to a report of a man in the water at Loch Creran, near Benderloch. A 62-year-old man was airlifted to Oban hospital where he later died. Inquiries are ongoing to establish the circumstances of the incident.’

Oban RNLI, Oban’s Coastguard Rescue Team and the Coastguard’s Prestwick-based rescue helicopter also attended the incident.

Oban lifeboat left her temporary berth by 4.35pm proceeding to Loch Creran at best speed.

As the lifeboat proceeded the UK Coastguard broadcast a mayday relay to request the assistance of any other vessels also in the area.

The RNLI volunteer crew arrived on scene shortly after 5pm. Mr Vajk was quickly located and was recovered from the water by the lifeboat crew soon after.

The lifeboat then liaised with the rescue helicopter to drop a winchman onboard, who then lifted Mr Vajk on to the helicopter for transfer to hospital.