A rescue team searches for the missing tug’s skipper at the mouth of the Calliope River, Gladstone, on Saturday. The body of the 64-year-old was found yesterday afternoon.
A rescue team searches for the missing tug’s skipper at the mouth of the Calliope River, Gladstone, on Saturday. The body of the 64-year-old was found yesterday afternoon. Brenda Strong

Rescue drama, tragedy on water

A 13m fishing vessel was successfully refloated last night after it struck a reef off the Capricorn Coast on Saturday and started taking water.

The boat, Ann Margaret, late last night was on its way to Gladstone following repair work which had to be undertaken after the vessel ran into trouble on the Swain Reefs, about 200km north east of Yeppoon, at 7.20pm Saturday.

The police boat, Lyle Hoey, was nearby during the refloating, which was done at high tide after 6pm.

Police said the boat had broken its anchor and drifted.

Five people on board the vessel were all safe.

Three travelled with it to Gladstone, while two others stayed on a nearby vessel.

They were able to keep incoming water at bay with the aid of pumps.

It was understood a Cairns-based aeroplane dropped an additional pump to them, as the police boat made its way to the site yesterday.

A strong wind warning was current for coastal waters in the region on Saturday with 25-30 knot winds reported, though these had eased yesterday.

Last August, the Yeppoon-based fishing charter boat Bell Cay sank in the Swain Reefs after it also struck a reef.

Then the 21 people on board were able to use a life boat until a vessel came to their rescue.

The weekend incident wasn't the only one in Central Queensland.

The Gladstone sailing community is mourning the loss of tugboat skipper Dudley Jacobs.

Mr Jacobs' body was found yesterday in Gladstone Harbour yesterday afternoon after the 64-year-old went missing about lunchtime on Saturday when his 23m vessel capsized at the mouth of the Calliope River.

Mr Jacobs was described as having a vast experience of the harbour and was a long-serving member of the Port Curtis Sailing Club, where he had served as commadore and treasurer.

The Adones tug was towing a water barge in the Gladstone Harbour on Saturday when it experienced a steering problem and girded, before it rolled over and sank.

Police were alerted that a 23m boat had capsized with four men on board at the mouth of the Calliope River.

Water Police were able to rescue three men, but were unable to locate Mr Jacobs.

A Queensland Police dive team came from Brisbane on Saturday night to join the search yesterday morning.

Attention will now turn to recovering the tug boat.

It is understood an investigation will be conducted by Marine Safety Queensland in co-ordination with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.



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