Safety equip­ment vi­tal

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr and Liam Croy

The im­por­tance of mod­ern safety equip­ment has been rammed home af­ter a fam­ily of four on a fish­ing trip gone wrong were saved off the Nin­ga­loo Coast last week.

The fam­ily had to be winched from their stricken ves­sel near Sandy Point as ad­verse weather con­di­tions kept sur­face res­cue crews out of ac­tion.

Matthew Neilsen, pi­lot-in­charge with Bris­tow He­li­copters Ex­mouth, and his crew were re­spon­si­ble for winch­ing the fam­ily to safety. Mr Neilsen said the pres­ence of a mod­ern, reg­is­tered bea­con gave res­cue crews ex­act details on where the boat was, who it was reg­is­tered to, and its size.

He said this ad­her­ence to safety mea­sures meant the res­cue was over rel­a­tively quickly, tak­ing just 35 min­utes.

“I was just about to sit down for the af­ter­noon and spend some time with my chil­dren when we got the call,” he said.

“It would have been a to­tally dif­fer­ent out­come had we had to search be­cause it was so late in the af­ter­noon, and with fail­ing light, they could have been out there overnight.

“With the swell build­ing the way it was and the very strong winds and vicin­ity to the reef, we could have been hav­ing a very dif­fer­ent con­ver­sa­tion to­day.”

Mr Neilsen said the com­mu­nity could be grate­ful for oil com­pa­nies in the area for mak­ing re­sources such as he­li­copters read­ily avail­able.

Ex­mouth Ma­rine Res­cue com­man­der Rusty El­lis said reach­ing the boat could have been tricky in the dark for his vol­un­teers.

“Be­fore our boys went too far out, we man­aged to get them back home safely,” he said.

“It was very much a happy end­ing and I’m very im­pressed with the way the whole thing came to­gether.

“It was get­ting very close to dark by the time they winched them off the boat. By the time we’d made it there, it would have been pretty dark.”

Mr El­lis also gave credit to the four peo­ple who were res­cued for hav­ing an EPIRB on board.

“It’s one of the most im­por­tant safety fea­tures that any boat­ing per­son can have on them these days,” he said.

Pic­ture: Bris­tow

Bris­tow He­li­copters Ex­mouth pi­lot-in-charge Matt Neil­son, right, with se­nior first of­fi­cer An­drew Humphries, left, en­gi­neer Dan Sum­mers, sec­ond left, and Matt Ver­meulen, in the chop­per, who was the wire­man dur­ing the res­cue.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.