Fishing accident or collision with a submarine? For 18 years, this is the question that has been tormenting families. Why on January 15, 2004, did a Breton trawler, the Bugaled Breizh, suddenly sink off the British coast? This mysterious drama, which occurred in less than a minute, took with it the lives of five fishermen, causing amazement and sadness in Loctudy (in the South of Finistère), its home port.
Questions about the causes, too, arise the next day: “driving” weather, as the sailors say, waves that are not insurmountable, a competent crew…
Very quickly the rumor swells, accusing a submarine. The hypothesis does not come from nowhere: the trawler Eridan, which immediately went to the scene of the sinking, had been flown over shortly before by a British Navy helicopter, and its sailors had noticed under the device a sonar , which is used to detect submersibles. Could the Dutch submarine Dolfijn, seen during the rescue operation, have hooked the boat’s fishing net and dragged it to the bottom? Or an English submarine, the Turbulent, whose logbook disappeared for two years? Or an American submersible, which was also cruising not far from there, on a secret mission? By examining the sunken trawler, a warp (cable that connects the boat to its trawl) was pulled to port, over 150 m, as if hooked by something very heavy and powerful…
“What is certain is that there were people under the water”, analyzes the director and journalist, Alexis de la Fontaine, who looked into the case when the English justice reopened the file. last fall. “Several documentaries had already been made on the tragedy but we found new pieces, documents, such as a plan for the organization of NATO exercises that took place in the area,” he reports. Many interviews are also carried out, such as that of Admiral Salles, appointed expert in the case, Hélène Tanguy, deputy of Finistère, Jacques Gheerbrandt, maritime prefect of Brest at the time or our colleague from the Telegram, Pascal Bodéré, who follows the story from the drama. “This is an extraordinary case, the outcome of which has not lifted the mystery. Eighteen years after the tragedy, the Bugaled Breizh is still intriguing… Even beyond Brittany, as the Seznec affair was able to do at the time. This is an emblematic case of judicial failure, ”said Pascal Bodéré. French justice concluded with a dismissal and English justice closed on the hypothesis of a fishing accident. Without convincing.
The golden ear
Today, the case is closed, without giving answers, even if some protagonists lean towards the track of a submersible. At the end of the documentary, journalist Fabrice Drouelle “debriefs” the subject treated with his guests. This time he receives Anne Kayanakis, ex-prosecutor of the Republic of Quimper and the writer Yann Queffélec, who leads “the fight for truth” with the families of the castaways. The latter evokes “the golden ear”, that of a submariner specialized in the recognition of boats, who was on site that day. Somewhere in the world, someone knows what happened… And will, perhaps, one day, reveal their truth!
“Sensitive Matters”. Monday April 4 at 10:55 p.m. on France 2.