Children overboard: Nine people capsize in ‘croc central’

RESCUE crews have received frantic calls for help after nine people, mostly small children, went overboard from a dinghy in a Cape York river described as "croc central".

Volunteer Marine Rescue Queensland (VMRQ) fielded emergency calls about 8pm after a dinghy capsized in the south arm of the Watson River near Aurukun in Cape York.

VMRQ officer in charge for the Gulf of Carpentaria Peter Graham said crews responded immediately as the terrifying situation unfolded.

"Water police on Thursday Island contacted Weipa VRM and they were tasked to 'get down there now'," he said.

Volunteer Marine Rescue officer in charge of Gulf of Carpentaria Peter Graham. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Volunteer Marine Rescue officer in charge of Gulf of Carpentaria Peter Graham. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

 

Miraculously, locals were able to quickly track down all nine of the overboard passengers and pull them to safety before they were dragged out to sea.

"By the time the crew mustered and had the vessel ready to go with everything they needed, they were told to stand down.

"Somebody managed to get over there very quickly although it was dark.

"It's croc central there, and it's amazing they picked all of the kids up in the dark without any getting swept out."

Mr Graham said he was impressed by the VMRQ response even though their attendance was not necessary in the end.

"On that sort of job, you would go with three crew if you had to just to get going," he said.

"But they had nine crew ready to go - everybody jumped on it.

"It was a sigh of relief all around.

"You just go cold when you get that kind of call."

Originally published as Children overboard: Nine people capsize in 'croc central'

 



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