Coast Guard reveals details about rescue after boat sinking
THE Yeppoon Coast Guard have provided more details about Friday’s dramatic boat sinking and rescue operation on the Capricorn Coast.
READ ORIGINAL STORY HERE: WATCH: Frightening moments family spent stranded at sea
It all began on Friday morning when Coast Guard Yeppoon radio operator on duty, Elizabeth Goodsell, received a VHF radio call at 9:51am saying the boat was taking on water between North West Island and the Capricorn Coast.
Already electronically self logged via Coast Guard’s tracking system (Trip Watch), the Yeppoon Coast Guard Marine Assist member was en route to North West Island – planning to return several days later.
The 8m power boat with four adults and four children, including a young baby, departed Rosslyn Bay Harbour at 6am for the 55nm trip.
It was carrying an inflatable dinghy on the roof.
When they radioed for help they were 15km from North West Island, taking on water with the bilge pump operating but the inflow of water was beyond its capabilities.
The Coast Guard Yeppoon’s Flotilla Commander Jim Warren alerted AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority), the Water Police and organised a Coast Guard Yeppoon rescue crew.
Shortly afterwards, Ms Goodsell received a second call that the boat was sinking and the occupants were preparing to abandon ship.
Having dealt with similar incidents before, she was able to record the co-ordinates of the boat’s position and to provide important advice about turning on the distress beacon, putting on life jackets and collecting vital items such as mobile phones, car keys, wallets etc.
Ms Goodsell was also assured that all occupants were well, wearing life jackets and were using the inflated dinghy.
RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service was dispatched from Rockhampton, the Water Police provided a fast RIB, a fixed wing aircraft was dispatched from Cairns and an approaching bulk carrier, RTM Twarra, heading to Gladstone, was diverted to the scene.
Shortly after being advised by AMSA that operations were in place, Coast Guard received a phone call from the family and although the call was intermittent, enough message could be transmitted to reassure them that help was on the way via a bulk carrier, helicopter and fixed wing aircraft.
After the boat submerged, the mother and baby and other children were placed in the dinghy and the other passengers clung to the sides.
After about an hour, a tender from the bulk carrier picked up the boat’s occupants and they were lifted onto the large ship.
The helicopter landed on the deck of the ship and the survivors were assessed by paramedics but were not suffering significant ill-effects.
After the helicopter lifted off to return to Rockhampton, the Water Police vessel from Gladstone pulled alongside and took the survivors on board.
Afterwards the owner of the boat said the scariest part of the day was climbing down the ladder and jumping onto the Police boat which was moving up and down in the rough seas.
The Police boat arrived at Rosslyn Bay Harbour at 3pm.
The boat owner called in to Coast Guard Yeppoon to ensure that his boat was taken off the log for the day and to thank the Coast Guard for their emergency communications.
The group were able to collect their vehicle and drive home.
Coast Guard Yeppoon also provided details on a much less dramatic incident which occurred on Wednesday (September 16), when motor cruiser with three people on board broke down off Monkey Point at Great Keppel Island.
Yeppoon Rescue One Skipper Jim Warren responded, departing Rosslyn Bay Harbour at 1pm, took the boat in tow and after returning, left the boat at anchor in Statue Bay at 3.20pm.
On Saturday, the owner of a jet ski reported that his craft had gone adrift on Friday night from Putney Beach, Great Keppel Island and washed ashore on Middle Island.
He arranged for a friend to help him to retrieve it.
There were two requests for assistance on Sunday.
The first was from a solo boaty in 4.3 metre aluminium boat that had broken down about halfway to Great Keppel Island from Rosslyn Bay Harbour. Marine Assist Rescue Skipper Phil Schefe departed the harbour at 11.45am and towed the boat back to harbour at 12.30pm.
Before this operation finished a call was received from a 5.6m Hydrofield power boat, with four people on board with engine trouble, about 2nm west of Main Beach, Great Keppel Island.
Yeppoon Rescue One Skipper Rex Kirk, departed the harbour at 12.50pm and returned with the boat in tow at 2.25pm.