News

Boat capsize could have been tragic, coast guard says

UPDATE: Three people whose boat capsized in the early hours of Wednesday are "very, very lucky", Coast Guard Sandy Straits commander Jukka Manttari says.

"It could've been quite tragic if the weather had been a little bit more foul," he said.

Mr Manttari said the people onboard managed to right the tinnie, bail it out as best they could and paddle their half-submerged vessel to Boonooroo Point.

An ambulance service spokeswoman said a female with a head injury who had swallowed some water was taken to hospital about 4am.

A Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service spokesman said a woman was in a stable condition in Hervey Bay Hospital following the incident.

Mr Manttari said the people onboard only had a mobile phone for communication and it ran out of power "just when we needed it".

"If the mobile phone had had more battery power in it they could've directed us straight to them," he said.

Mr Manttari said they were lucky to be able to use the mobile phone because nine times out of 10, most mobile phone didn't have coverage.

"There's a lot of black spots around there," he said.

"I would've liked people like that to have at least radio communication and to have logged on with Coast Guard prior to going out."

Mr Manttari said they were dangerous waters to be swimming in due to sharks and stingers.

"They were very, very lucky,"he said.

"The wind was only just starting to pick up this morning but it was still pretty calm for them so it made searching a lot easier.

"They're lucky I suppose, too, that we had a full moon visibility was a bit better."

Mr Manttari said he had been phoned at 2am and managed to scramble a crew together so the four of them were out on the water on the Pride of Maryborough within 45 minutes.

"We had a couple of search areas - we had to work out the tidal drift that would've occurred from the initial tipping of the boat and trying to work out where they would've drifted to, so we initially searched that area - that was down south and then we worked our way going north a bit further until we were called off," he said.

Mr Manttari said the Coast Guard crew was called off the search about 4.15am.

EARLIER: A man and two females rowed back to shore after their boat capsized between Fraser Island and Boonooroo about 1.30am on Wednesday.

Maryborough police Sergeant Steve Wheeler said the 10ft tinnie was righted and rowed back to the Boonooroo boat ramp and the occupants were found safe and well in a house near the ramp about 4am.

He said the water police were activated and emergency services had been put on stand-by.

Sgt Wheeler said the ambulance was called to treat one woman who had a bump on the head and a sore stomach.

Topics:  boat boonooroo capsize fraser island hervey bay maryborough police water police



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