Anglers washed out to sea

THREE anglers - including a 17-year-old girl - endured a terrifying night lost in rough seas off Dalrymple Bay when a fishing trip took a nasty turn.

The girl and a 32-year-old man spent six hours in the water after attempting to swim to shore, while their male friend, 32, jettisoned the outboard to make landfall.

They were attempting to anchor a 3.7 metre tinnie in 15-20 knot winds about two kilometres off the coast when a wave knocked it over.

The pair put on their lifejackets and decided to swim to pylons about 30 metres away, while their friend, 32, stayed with the boat.

However, the current was so strong it swept them away from the pylons.

The dramatic series of events began to unravel about 9pm Saturday.

It wasn't until 9am yesterday that all three had been found safe and well.

Senior Constable Brett Norris, of Whitsunday Water Police, said the pair, who left the boat, spent about six hours lost at sea.

They made it to shore at an unknown location, somewhere towards Louisa Creek.

Meanwhile, their male friend had managed to make it to Round Top Island after bailing out the vessel and ditching the motor. He was found by passing fishermen about 7am yesterday.

It was then that the alarm was raised about the missing man and woman.

A large-scale air and water search ensued for the lost pair. Police found the missing duo about 9am at the Louisa Creek house where they had been staying.

Snr Const Norris said the trio was very lucky to have made it through virtually unscathed.

"They just had a few scratches and were a bit waterlogged and dehydrated," he said.

"The smartest thing they did was put lifejackets on before they left the boat... it probably saved their lives."



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