Help with a ‘car­ton of beer’

Group from WA as­sists boat own­ers

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Dane Lilling­stone dane.lilling­stone @whit­sun­day­times.com.au

IF THERE’S one thing the Whit­sun­days needs right now it’s a help­ing hand and one group from Western Aus­tralia has been do­ing just that - by help­ing stricken boat own­ers across the coast.

Luke Martin Purdy and his team from Bus­sel­ton­based Geographe Ma­rine Sal­vage and Res­cue had their equip­ment trucked 6000km to the Whit­sun­days and they haven’t stopped work­ing since.

Work­ing to right a ves­sel at Can­non­vale Beach on Satur­day, they had their truck and ex­ca­va­tor stuck in the mud but with some help from Banks Trans­port and Earth­mov­ing, they safely re­moved a ves­sel from the man­groves which they say should now be able to float with the tides.

“We got the job done,” Mr Purdy said.

“We were pressed hard by the tides.

“The machines don’t like the man­groves. There’s no sub­stance un­der­neath. At one point we had the truck down to the top of its wheels and the ex­ca­va­tor right down to the base of its body.

“(But) we man­aged to get it out with­out dam­ag­ing the boat at all.t was pretty hec­tic but we got it.”

Mr Purdy was in In­done­sia when he started re­ceiv­ing calls from in­sur­ance com­pa­nies to get his team and gear to the Whit­sun­days.

Af­ter “pack­ing his life into two semi trail­ers” Mr Purdy and his team made the trek from Bus­sle­ton, south of Perth and two weeks ago they com­menced work.

“These guys have all fol­lowed me from the west. We’re a re­ally tight group. Most of them went to school with each other,” he said.

With so many stranded boats the group’s job isn’t over yet and Mr Purdy said he might never leave.

“I’ll help for as long as I can, for as much as I can. That’s my plan,” he said. “I might be here for­ever. “(Some of ) those peo­ple have got noth­ing. They lost their house, they lost their boat. We man­aged to get a crane for one guy for $1500, we know it’s $10,000, so for our part of it, throw in a car­ton of beer and we’ll do the job.

“We do in­sur­ance jobs but we also do as much as we can for the man who's not in­sured. We’ll do that for a car­ton of beer all day long.”

Mr Purdy said he was amazed at the spirit shown by the Whit­sun­day com­mu­nity in the wake of the storm.

“To watch this com­mu­nity be bashed to bits then come back to­gether, I’m hon­oured to be part of that,” he said.

“Ev­ery­one we’ve met here has been the most help­ful per­son ever.”

PHOTO: DANE LILLING­STONE

THE TEAM: Tim White, Kade Mas, Jor­dan Ver­rell, Luke Martin Purdy, Ash Dunn, Wil­liam Kent, Ma­son Vick­ers and Dan De­g­ley with Jayde Towes (front) re­mov­ing a boat at Can­non­vale Beach on Satur­day.

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