Eskies to res­cue

Four men cling to Eskies af­ter their boat sinks

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - by Emily Mac­don­ald emily. mac­don­ald@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

SEVEN peo­ple have been plucked from rough seas off Townsville at the week­end in three sep­a­rate in­ci­dents, in­clud­ing one which saw four men des­per­ately cling­ing to Eskies af­ter their boat sank.

The men were fish­ing near Keeper Reef off Cleve­land Bay at 7.30am yes­ter­day when their boat first started tak­ing on wa­ter.

Af­ter los­ing ra­dio con­tact, the men were forced to set off their EPIRB and even­tu­ally aban­don the sink­ing boat.

They were spot­ted by the Emerg e n c y Man­age ment Queens­land res­cue he­li­copt e r s e v e r a l h o u r s l a t e r around mid­day and picked up by the Coast­guard soon af­ter at 1pm.

V o l u n t e e r C o a s t g u a r d spokesman David Ede said the men were all thank­fully un­hurt but the story could have eas­ily turned out much dif­fer­ently.

‘‘ The con­di­tions were quite hor­ren­dous. They did ev­ery­thing right. They let the EPIRB off, clung to each other, had their life jack­ets on and kept calm.

‘‘ These peo­ple were mem­bers of our res­cue reg­is­ter and we were able to keep their rel­a­tives in­formed un­til we re­turned them to their fam­i­lies at 3.45pm.’’

Townsville Coast­guard perf o r m e d s e v e n r e s c u e s , mostly t ows, dur­ing t he week­end com­pared to the usual two or three.

EMQ pilot Mike Toms said the crew were headed back BOAT LOST: A Townsville man trav­el­ling from Mag­netic Is­land

was res­cued af­ter fall­ing from his ves­sel to Townsville when they got a sec­ond call for help.

‘‘ We were headed back to Townsville at 1.05pm when we were con­tacted by Townsville wa­ter po­lice who said there were re­ports of two peo­ple cling­ing to an up- turned kayak just off Cape Pal­larenda,’’ he said.

‘‘ Af­ter a short search we lo­cated those two peo­ple and us­ing the res­cue winch, re­cov­ered them to the air­craft.

‘‘ They were as­sessed by our doc­tor on board and they didn’t re­quire med­i­cal at­ten­tion so they were re­turned to the base and in­ter­viewed by the wa­ter po­lice.’’

In a third in­ci­dent a man was res­cued by a pri­vate fish­ing boat af­ter fall­ing off his ves­sel on the way back to Townsville from Mag­netic Is­land. The man left the is­land at 10pm on Satur­day and po­lice were called at 1.30am yes­ter­day when he failed to re­turn home.

Townsville Wa­ter Po­lice con­ducted an aerial and sea search of the area and he was picked up out of the ocean sev­eral hours later by the fish­ing ves­sel but no trace has been found of his 4.9m boat, a white Shark Cat named Bull­dog II, which has two 250hp Dai­hatsu mo­tors.

Any­one who has seen the ves­sel should call Crime Stop­pers on 1800 333 000.

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