CQ Rescue took this photo of a civilian boat taking the four men back to shore. Contributed
CQ Rescue took this photo of a civilian boat taking the four men back to shore. Contributed Contributed

Man who helped boaties: 'They are very lucky in my eyes'

UPDATE, 12.30pm Monday:

MACKAY fisherman Sean Wells was one of the civilians who aided in the rescue of the four fishermen in trouble near Mackay Harbour at the weekend.  

Mr Wells told the Daily Mercury he and a friend had just put their boat in when police arrived and asked for their assistance. 

"Me and Scott said 'yes let's go' straight away, as we were all getting in the boat I dropped my phone over," he said.  

"I panicked then thought who cares it's a phone, four lives mean more than a phone so off we went ... we searched for about half an hour when the chopper told us they had found them just about to get pummelled on the rocks.  

"My adrenalin kicked in and I was full ball over there. I did what I had been taught when I did my boat licence and that's to turn to your side, turn the motor off and grab them.  

"We just got them all on board just in time as we were only in three metres of water and climbing with rocks right next to us."  

Mr Wells said the sturdiness of his mate's boat, who works at Mackay Marine, that allowed them to rescue the foursome from nearby dangerous rocks.  

"It's lucky Scott was taking his almost finished project boat out or else those boys may have not made it home," he said.

"They are very lucky in my eyes because if it wasn't for the 000 call I don't think the EPIRB signal would have been picked up in time."  

Mr Wells said the incident highlighted a need for a more permanent, paid rescue service - but said VMR did well in the circumstances.

"I think there should be a person guarding that tower 24/7 and maybe not be volunteer but a (permanent) crew that takes shifts and it being paid work," he said.  

INITIAL:

A MAN in his 50s was saved by VMR Mackay by pure luck during the search for four stranded fishers.

A VMR spokesman said the rescue boat had been tasked to search for four men whose fishing boat had sunk between Slade Island and Flat Top Island about 6.30am this morning.

On the other side of Flat Top Island, VMR volunteers spotted a man in his 50s whose tinny had capsized.

"He'd been floating around since 4am, it was just pure luck that we spotted him," the spokesman said.

A CQ Rescue spokesman said the rescue helicopter had also been tasked to search for the four fishers and spotted them "in life jackets, huddled in the water" about half a mile off the coast of Slade Point.

The group's 21 ft half cab boat was completely submerged.

Once they had been spotted, a civilian boat took them to shore.

Queensland Ambulance Services attended but said once the men had received a "hot cuppa" they didn't require further medical assistance.

A civilian boat took the four men back to shore as their 21 ft boat had sunk completely.
A civilian boat took the four men back to shore as their 21 ft boat had sunk completely. Contributed


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