The May Day tragedy which claimed seven lives off the Yorkshire coast 34 years ago

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Yorkshire has enjoyed record-breaking heat this Bank Holiday - but the story of one of the coast's most tragic days is a stark reminder of the power of the sea.

In 1984, seven lives were lost off Bridlington after a local trawler sank and a boat sent to join the rescue party also floundered in freak weather conditions.

On the morning of May 7, 1984 - the Bank Holiday Monday that year - four men set out aboard the fishing vessel Carol Sandra from Bridlington Harbour. The weather was initially good, but winds began to pick up and by the time the crew were at sea, waves of 15ft in height were striking the boat. The men were trying to move their crab pots into deeper water to prevent them being damaged by the rough seas.

Captain Peter Brigham, who was also a member of the Flamborough lifeboat crew, was on board with his father Guy, Barrie Shilton and George Gray, who was just 19. Nobody knows how the vessel came to grief, as no distress call was made, but the alarm was raised when a bow was seen sticking out of the water. Brigham's crewmates from the Flamborough RNLI station were sent to the scene.

A call went out to other vessels in the area to assist with the search, and it was answered by a boat called North Wind III. On board were five members of a sea angling club from Doncaster who were on a leisure fishing trip, along with captain Palmer Cockerill and his son David, who were from Bridlington.

The crew were investigating an object they had seen in the water when the vessel was suddenly hit by a huge wave, washing the men overboard. Palmer and David Cockerill were trapped beneath the capsized hull, but managed to find an air pocket and survived for 20 minutes until the boat was washed ashore.

Three of the anglers - David Bunting, Stephen Burton and Charles Priestley, who were all in their 20s - drowned.

Yorkshire coast marine death tragedy: Charity wades in to rescue survivors
An RAF helicopter managed to recover one of the survivors from the water and transfer him to the Filey lifeboat and another clung to the winch and was lifted to the clifftop, although the winchman, David Allen, was himself injured during the rescue.

The bodies of Barrie Shilton, Stephen Burton and Peter Brigham were recovered, but those of Guy Brigham and George Gray, Bunting and Priestley were never found.

As well as the Cockerills, two of the Doncaster anglers, Alan Sutcliffe and Roger Mokryj, survived.

Palmer Cockerill's daughter Janet said at the time: "The seas came from nowhere. They were freak weather conditions. My father was shocked - he just couldn't understand it."

An inquest into the seven men's deaths returned a verdict of misadventure. David Allen was given a Queen's Commendation for his heroism. More than 500 people attended a memorial service in Flamborough, including coachloads of the Doncaster group's friends. Their ashes were scattered in the North Sea.

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