Local News

Embattled Boatie Located East Of Mackay

RACQ CQ Rescue has located a man sitting on his upturned six-metre fishing boat 13km offshore on Monday.  Image Credit: RACQ CQ Rescue Helicopter Service.

UPDATE | RACQ CQ Rescue has located a lone fisherman sitting on his upturned boat in the dark after he activated his EPIRB on Monday morning.

The Mackay-based rescue helicopter was tasked by the Australia Maritime Safety Authority to conduct a search for a distress beacon which had been activated about 13km east of
Mackay about 1.30am.

The beacon was registered to a six-metre fishing boat called The Hooker.

The RACQ CQ Rescue crew quickly reconfigured the Bell 412 helicopter for a search over water and was able to hone in on the beacon signal almost immediately after take-off.

RACQ CQ Rescue rescue crewman Ben McCauley said the boat was spotted easily from the air in the dark ocean because of the strobe light which was activated on the EPIRB. 

A man was spotted sitting on the hull of the upturned boat and was waving when the helicopter strobe light was on him.

The helicopter crew orbited the area and via radio was able to guide Volunteer Marine Rescue 5 to the vessel within 10 minutes. The man, who was uninjured, was picked up by
the VMR vessel and taken back to Mackay Harbour. RACQ CQ Rescue remained overhead for support.

“This is a perfect example of how EPIRBs save lives as well as save rescuer’s time and money,” Mr McCauley said.

“If he didn’t have an EPIRB on board, who knows how long he would have been sitting out there in the water and in the dark before anyone even knew he was in distress. Activating
the beacon meant we knew who and what we were looking for and that we were able to find him quickly and get him to safety.”

“He’s really incredible lucky,” Mr McCauley said.

VMR was returning to the scene to tow the upturned vessel to Mackay Harbour on Monday.

Over the weekend, RACQ CQ Rescue also flew to Moranbah on Saturday, Dysart on Sunday and to Glenden to transfer injured and unwell patients to Mackay.

EARLIER | RACQ CQ Rescue has helped locate a fishing vessel after it activated a distress beacon on Monday morning.

The rescue chopper was contacted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The beacon was registered to a six metre fishing boat called The Hooker and had been activated at around 1.30AM.

The boat and sole occupant was located quickly 7nm east of Mackay.  He was sitting on the hull of his upturned vessel.  Luckily he wasn't injured.

By Michelle Price