Did Russian submarine nearly drag Scottish fishing trawler to watery grave?
A trawler captain has claimed his boat was nearly dragged to a watery grave by a rogue Russian submarine while fishing off the Scottish coast.
Angus Macleod said he and his four crew were "extremely lucky" after his net became snagged on a mystery submerged object, which almost pulled the boat and crew under the waves.
The Royal Navy has said there were no British or Nato submarines in the area at the time. In recent months it has been alleged that Russian submarines have been operating in British waters.
Mr MacLeod and his crew were fishing aboard the 41-year-old wooden Aquarius about ten miles east of the Butt of Lewis in 360 feet of water on Tuesday.
Suddenly, one of its two trailing nets began to be pulled forward by an unseen force. Panicking, Mr MacLeod was forced to rev his engine to keep pace in front of the net for around 15 minutes, until the straining rope was finally severed by the boat’s propeller.
Mr Macleod said: "I have been at sea for 30 years - and between the five of us there is 110 years experience - and in our collective times we have never experienced anything like that.
"I have been told that there were no MoD submarines north of Neist Point on Skye that day - and no Nato submarines in the area too. It is possible a non-Nato submarine could be involved?
"It was not a whale - we have had whales in the nets before and the net is all twisted afterwards. Whatever it was, it was human powered - of that we are convinced."
Heading to back to shore, the Aquarius hit problems with its steering three miles south east of Chicken Rock and Stornoway Lifeboat was launched. It towed the stricken craft to Stornoway for repairs.
It was then discovered that four of the five one-inch bolts that connect the steering motor with the rudder had been wrenched loose.
"All five of us are extremely lucky. I don't even want to think of the consequences of what could have happened," said Mr Macleod.
"I would like to get to the bottom of it. It was a very worrying experience - it shook us all up especially when we thought about it afterwards. Whatever happened involved a moving object in mid-stream."