Res­cue saves po­ten­tial cast­aways

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

THE Whit­sun­day Vol­un­teer Marine Res­cue ser­vice and the RACQ CQ Res­cue he­li­copter saved two Bris­bane men from spend­ing the night as is­land cast­aways ear­lier this week.

The two 21-year-olds were on­board a cata­ma­ran which was an­chored off Bor­der Is­land on Mon­day.

The men de­cided to take a hike through the bush but be­came lost.

When they had not re­turned after sev­eral hours, the cap­tain of the boat phoned ‘000’.

Both the RACQ CQ Res­cue and VMR were de­ployed shortly after 9pm to search for the miss­ing men.

VMR mem­bers Mal Pri­day, Dean Kowitz, Mick Evans and Rod Wilson headed into a heavy rain squall, strong winds and mod­er­ate to rough sea.

De­spite the con­di­tions, the res­cue ves­sel VMR 1 reached Bor­der Is­land about an hour later and was able to ren­dezvous with the miss­ing per­sons’ boat and com­mu­ni­cate with the res­cue he­li­copter crew.

VMR1 then started a shore­line search to the south-western side of the is­land where the young men had last been seen. They were ad­vised by the res­cue he­li­copter crew that a small fire had been spot­ted on the south-western end of the is­land but that no-one ap­peared to be near it.

While VMR1 launched its ten­der to in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther, the CQ Res­cue he­li­copter con­ducted sev­eral cir­cuits of the is­land with­out sight­ing the men.

CQ Res­cue air crew­man Rus­sel James said the he­li­copter was get­ting low on fuel and it was on a fi­nal fly-by that the pi­lot spot­ted two men, wav­ing from the top of a hill.

The men were winched to safety and apart from some mild de­hy­dra­tion, they were de­ter­mined to be in good health and re­lieved their or­deal was over.

VMR1 re­cov­ered its ten­der and re­turned the cata­ma­ran’s grate­ful skip­per to his boat at Cat­eran Bay. The VMR crew were back at Abell Point Ma­rina and fin­ished with their mis­sion by 1am.

“All in all, [it was] a dif­fi­cult, test­ing night for both the res­cue ves­sel and the he­li­copter crew, but with a good out­come at the end,” VMR crew­man Mal Pri­day said.

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