Beacon saves teenage fishers

By TAMARA KEMP WHAT started out as a fun fishing trip ended in a three-hour ordeal for 19-year-old Yeppoon resident Brad Evans.

The university student and his 19-year-old friend Chris Nash were rescued by the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service on Friday afternoon after their six-metre fibreglass boat capsized near Corio Bay.

Safe at his Yeppoon home with his family, Brad described the ordeal as emotionally draining.

He said he still could not believe what had happened. "One minute we are fishing and the next minute a one-and-ahalf metre wave came over the top of the boat and overturned it,'' he said.

With the boat capsized, Brad's father Adrian told The Morning Bulletin Brad had to dive under the boat at least seven times to salvage what he could.

"He brought up from the water flares, life jackets, an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) and even his car keys,'' he said.

"Brad had to calm Chris down and support him while they waited for help because he was in a real panic.'' Brad said if it had not been for the EPIRB, they might still be floating in the ocean somewhere.

"I was concerned for a few reasons: One it was getting dark and the other thing was that we had lost our esky of dead fish and I was worried about sharks,'' he said.

The RACQ Helicopter Rescue Service reached them at 2.40pm.

Brad and Chris were returned to Yeppoon at 3.49pm by helicopter pilot Grant Kahler, winch operator Mike Dekker and rescue crewman David Mountain.

Brad said he wished to thank the helicopter service for "saving their lives''.

"Next time I will be a lot more cautious before going out in the boat,'' he said.

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