Lucky man . . . Scott Foster after his harrowing ordeal,
Lucky man . . . Scott Foster after his harrowing ordeal,

'Guardian Angels' in a tinnie saved my life

By CRAIG McTEAR

HE knows it will be tough, but Scott Foster is determined to destroy the demons playing havoc inside his head. It will involve a stroll over Muttonbird Island, down to the rocks and the water's edge where he thought he was going to die. The 32-year-old hasn't slept a wink since his close shave on Thursday morning, thanks to the constant flashbacks and the busted shoulder and deep hand gashes giving him hell. But the pain is tempered by his abiding admiration for the three guardian angels who rescued him. Scott and his workmate, Peter, both keen anglers, arrived at their favourite spot at the island's eastern end at 5.45am. During the next hour-and-a-half, they managed to land three tailor. Suddenly, Peter made a mad dash up the rocks, but by the time Scott realised what was happening, it was too late. A large wave overwhelmed him and despite his best efforts to cling to a ledge, he was dragged into the water and sucked under for a terrifying minute or more. "I kept thinking to myself 'I don't want to die'. I thought I was gone," Scott said. "I'd hurt my (right) shoulder on the rocks and I thought I'd broken it." He managed to somehow struggle to the surface, but was too badly injured to make the swim to safety. And he yelled out to Peter not to risk danger by jumping in to help him. Then, a miracle happened. Three men in a tinnie appeared and plucked Scott from the water (see story page 3). "If they weren't there, my whole day would have been different. I'm eternally grateful to them," he said. Cold, sore and suffering from shock, Scott was wrapped in a thermal blanket as his rescuers made the mercy run to shore, where ambulance officers took over. Hospital medical staff discovered he'd torn tendons and muscles in his shoulder, which he'd also dislocated, and applied a sling. His hand bandages are also testament to his ordeal. Scott estimates he'd been in the water for up to seven minutes, clad in a heavy flannelette shirt, a heavy jumper, tracksuit pants and sneakers. The Coffs Harbour Deep Sea Fishing Club kitchenhand will be out of action for at least a week as he begins the road to recovery. "When you fear for your life, you really start to think about everything in general. It put the fear of God into me," he said. "I'll definitely go back to where my accident happened. I've got to go back, even if I don't fish. "Just for a look." n In other news, police said yesterday they had still not found the two local men, aged 39 and 43, missing at sea off the Northern Beaches after their runabout capsized last Saturday. Patrols of the area continue.



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