Fisherman recounts near-death experience in Calliope River
A Gladstone fisherman owes his life to a group of kayakers after he nearly drowned in the Calliope River.
Peter Corke was returning home from a fishing expedition at 11am on Sunday when he was knocked into the river by large waves caused by a passing boat.
The 73-year-old tried to get back on board but his tinny was circling uncontrollably.
He suffered a hand injury from the blades of the motor.
Mr Corke was in the water for about 20 minutes before three men on kayaks went to his aid.
"To be perfectly honest I wouldn't have made it," Mr Corke said.
"I was trying to get to shore but a four-metre tide came in really quick."
It was only luck kayaker Andrew Marshall wanted to check his crab pots when he, along with other kayakers William Jenkins and Alex Sayre, spotted Mr Corke in the water.
"As we went around the corner there was this hat floating down the river and I thought that was unusual," Mr Marshall said.
"The next thing I saw was a boat doing doughnuts which caught my attention because there was no one in it and to the left of that, there was Peter going up and down in the water.
"I rushed over to see what I could do … he was in bad way."
The men managed to drag Mr Corke in another boatie's vessel and take him to shore.
"I'm grateful we were there, there were many reasons we weren't going to be on the water at that time at all that day," Mr Marshall said.
"We were lucky we were there and it turned out the way it did."
Gladstone Police Acting Senior Sergeant Brad Foat left the station in "lights and sirens" when the initial call of an unmanned boat came through on Sunday morning.
"Just in my experience of that sort of job, it's never a good thing," Sgt Foat said.
Sgt Foat had to commandeer a small boat from a family to retrieve Mr Corke's out-of-control vessel.
"We were able to get the boat in the straight line and I made the jump," he said.
"Watching the footage back I was surprised how fast we were going.
"First and foremost we don't recommend people jumping from one boat to another moving boat however the mangroves were approaching quickly and we knew we couldn't have this boat going into there."
Sgt Foat said police were investigating the speed of the boat which caused Mr Corke to fall into the water.
"Investigations are still ongoing, we believe an unknown boat has travelled past at considerable speed at a close distance from the other boat which has caused Peter to fall out," Sgt Foat said.
"If anyone has information they are encouraged to call Crimestoppers or attend the local station."
As for Mr Corke, he said his days on the water might be his last.
"If It wasn't for those boys, I wouldn't be here today," Mr Corke said.
"I'm going to sell my boat to be honest I don't think I'll go and do it again.
"I love fishing but I'm giving it some time to think about it."