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4WDs warned to be wary ahead of Family Fishing Classic

STRANDED: A 4WD on its roof in the surf after the driver overturned it trying to avoid a large wave. INSET: A LandCruiser is hung up on rocks in Eli Creek.
STRANDED: A 4WD on its roof in the surf after the driver overturned it trying to avoid a large wave. INSET: A LandCruiser is hung up on rocks in Eli Creek. Contributed

ONLY the fish should flip on Fraser Island's beaches during this week's Rainbow Beach Family Fishing Classic, provided 4WD drivers employ common sense.

Fraser Island Towing business owner Andrew Mikitis yesterday urged fishing classic participants and spectators to use caution heading to their favourite fishing spots in light of two accidents in recent weeks.

The first accident Mr Mikitis, 51, was called to involved the rollover of a Toyota Prado on Wednesday, June 24.

There were no serious injuries other than a few broken fingers when the 4WD overturned avoiding a larger-than-expected wave.

Mr Mikitis said it appeared the vehicle was driven too close to the water.

"Everyone was wearing seatbelts and I don't believe speed was a factor," he said.

After it overturned, the 4WD came to rest on its roof in the surf with the windscreen smashed and sand throughout the vehicle.

"They were extremely lucky," Mr Mikitis said.

The second incident triggered a rescue operation on Sunday night when a LandCruiser got stuck in Eli Creek. Mr Mikitis said the cause was straightforward.

"They did everything wrong," he said, "driving down the beach close to high tide right on dark wanting to get across to get back to their accommodation.

"They did not check the creek's depth or check for rocks and got snagged on larger rocks."

The 4WD had some surf go over it before the tide retreated and the vehicle could be retrieved.

Fraser Island beach conditions were favourable at the moment for a problem-free fishing competition, he said.

Problems arise when large quantities of sand are deposited on the beach, creating undulating dunes and steep slopes, while heavy seas can also strip beaches of their sand and create washouts.

Mr Mikitis told 4WD drivers to listen to their induction when hiring 4WDs, drive to conditions, travel in groups when heading to remote parts of the island and stay off the beach two hours either side of high tide.

"If visibility is poor, slow down and take your time," he said.

Topics:  fraser island



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