19 hour rescue at sea off Fraser Island

JUNK RESCUE: A rescue conducted offshore by Bundaberg VMR of a Chinese Junk Vessel over the weekend. Photo: contributed
JUNK RESCUE: A rescue conducted offshore by Bundaberg VMR of a Chinese Junk Vessel over the weekend. Photo: contributed contributed

IT TOOK 19 hours for a crew to come to the rescue of two sailors whose vessel started experiencing difficulties near Fraser Island's Waddy Point on Saturday.

The skipper of a 25-tonne Chinese junk rigged sailing vessel was in trouble with a water leak, engine problems and a broken boom.

The two men had been in contact with the water police overnight Friday and had been able to partially repair the engine problem but progress was only possible directly into the swell.

Sailing was not an option.

Five crew members from Volunteer Marine Rescue were assembled by 7.30am Saturday and began preparation for the 180-nautical mile round trip.

Adding to the challenge, a 2-2.5m north-easterly sea was running outside the Burnett River.

Seas increased to 3m with breaking swells offshore.

While the tow line was being attached, crew training swung into action when one of the windscreen motors on the rescue boat burnt out.

Circuit breakers were thrown and a fire extinguisher readied while the smoking unit was isolated.

The vessel was towed home at speeds of 5-7 knots mainly because of the residual swell.

Seventeen nautical miles from home there was a one-hour delay to deal with two episodes of breakage of the posts attaching the tow line to the junk.

The VMR Bundaberg Rescue was back in the Burnett River channel by 1am with a relieved crew.

Gympie Times

Topics:  boating editors picks fraser coast rescue

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