Two men were rescued by RACQ CQ Rescue after their boat sank at Mackay Harbour.
Two men were rescued by RACQ CQ Rescue after their boat sank at Mackay Harbour. RACQ CQ Rescue

Men rescued after boat sank at Mackay Harbour

TWO Mackay fishermen were winched to safety after spending two hours adrift in the ocean after their boat sank off Mackay Harbour today.

RACQ CQ Rescue spotted the two exhausted men, one who was clinging to an esky, about one kilometre offshore from Harbour Beach after an EPIRB was activated.

The men, aged 48 and 44, were returning to the mainland after a Sunday morning fishing trip when the nose of their boat was swamped by a wave and sank quickly.

They managed to activate the boat's EPIRB when it floated to the surface as the vessel sank.

RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked by AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority) about 10am that an emergency beacon had been activated and began an aerial search of the area for the signal.

Two men were rescued by RACQ CQ Rescue after their boat sank at Mackay Harbour. Photo RACQ CQ Rescue
Two men were rescued by RACQ CQ Rescue after their boat sank at Mackay Harbour. Photo RACQ CQ Rescue RACQ CQ Rescue

RACQ CQ Rescue Rescue crewman Ethan Clissold said it took about 30 minutes to locate the two men as the EPIRB signal wasn't consistent because of the swell.

"We circled the area and out around Flat Top Island and near the mouth of the Pioneer River before we spotted their reflective life jackets and the debris floating in the water," he said.

"The men were about 100 metres apart and were drifting east. Both had lifejackets on and one was trying to hold on to an esky but they had lost visual contact with each other.

"They were very disorientated by the swell and had no visual land reference."

Mr Clissold was winched down into the water as the helicopter hovered overhead to retrieve the exhausted man and winch them up into the aircraft.

"Fortunately they had lifejackets on and the good sense to have the right emergency equipment aboard," Mr Clissold said.

"They were both really exhausted and dehydrated after having been in the water for two hours and incredibly grateful that we found them and could help them out."


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