Dramatic scenes as coast guard, chopper race to near-sinking
MAYDAY calls which detail a power boat on the verge of sinking are the calls many water rescue services hope to rarely encounter.
For Yeppoon’s Coast Guard, however, that very situation became a reality last Monday morning – setting in motion a busy week of water rescues for the service.
Dramatic scenes unfolded north east of Yeppoon shortly before 9am after a Marine Assist member, who was returning from Douglas Shoal, reported their boat to be taking on water.
Poor radio reception heightened concerns for the four persons on board, with an accurate location of the vessel unable to be obtained.
After activating the distress beacon, a number of rescue services were deployed to assist with the time-pressing search.
Yeppoon Rescue One departed Rosslyn Bay Harbour around 9.10am; RACQ Capricorn Rescue and an aircraft dispatched from Cairns commenced air searches a short time later.
The boat’s occupants were able to slow the water intake to keep the boat afloat and travelling towards the harbour.
The Rescue chopper was overhead just after 9.45am, with Yeppoon Rescue One intercepting the boat near North Keppel Island around five minutes later.
Yeppoon Rescue One then shadowed the vessel back to harbour, arriving at 10.40am.
Fuel problems appeared to be a reoccurring issue as Tuesday, August 18 unfolded, with two boats requiring assistance.
A vessel with two people on-board had earlier been left stranded on the north side of Miall Island after it ran out of fuel around 11am.
Hours later, Skipper Barry Semple assisted four occupants of a power boat just north of Rosslyn Bay Harbour, whose vessel had suffered issues due to a blockage caused by dirty fuel.
The boat was towed back to Rosslyn Bay Harbour just before 3.40pm.
On Thursday, a power boat which had broken down on its way to Great Keppel Island was also towed back to the harbour.
Sunny skies and warm weather, however, made for an eventful – and rescue filled – weekend on the water.
Saturday proved one of the service’s quieter days, with only one call for assistance made.
A male reported his 9m half cab vessel to be broken down and drifting near the north east side of Man and Wife Rocks around 11.20am.
Skipper Daryll Greer departed the harbour a short time later, returning with the boat in tow close to two hours later.
An early start for Sunday greeted Yeppoon Coast Guard, after a radio call was received from a 12m catamaran just after 6am.
It had reportedly dragged its anchor at Long Beach, Great Keppel Island and by accident ended up on the beachfront.
A damaged rudder and penetrated hull unfortunately left the vessel immobile.
On arrival, Skipper Daryll Greer found a neighbouring boat had been in a position to assist, with the vessel almost afloat.
The boat was subsequently pumped and towed back to Rosslyn Bay Harbour at only 10 knots, arriving after midday.