Father’s face sliced open in freak Seaforth accident
A TRIP to visit family at Seaforth took a horrific turn when a Gold Coast father of three's face was slashed open by a boat propeller after a turtle caused him to pitch overboard.
"It's going to be a hell of a recovery for me but at least I'm alive," Andrew said.
The 48 year old, who asked his surname not be used, had been out on the water with his dad and daughter when the 14ft tinny they were in hit a massive turtle that, unbeknown to the trio, swum to the surface in the boat's path.
The jolt caused the boat, steered by his father, to pitch from side and side sending Andrew flying over the edge and under the water.
"Then I got run over by the tinny," Andrew said.
"The only thing I can remember … it was a bit spiritual, I (thought) of my children when I was underneath the water.
"When I actually woke up … I was in somebody else's boat."
Andrew said luckily there had been another vessel nearby.
He was quickly pulled from the water and taken to the boat ramp while his daughter phoned for an ambulance.
Three crews, including critical care paramedics, as well as the RACQ CQ Rescue chopper arrived at the Seaforth boat ramp early Saturday afternoon to treat the seriously injured man.
"There's lines all over my body … four or five lines over my face … where the engine hit," he said.
"Very lucky. That's what the surgeon said to me … 'you're very lucky to be alive'."
He was rushed to Mackay Base Hospital and then later flown to Townsville Hospital for treatment.
Andrew said he was in surgery for about eight hours as doctors sutured his face back together and repaired the damage to his body.
His injuries included hearing loss in his left ear, but doctors told him that was "very likely to improve".
"My facial nerve on my left side isn't working, but it's improving," he said, adding that he would also need three teeth replaced which would happen in the next three to six months.
"I'm very lucky. I can talk and see.
"Gotta stay positive."
In terms of boating safety Andrew said his father, who was an experienced fisherman, was very safety conscious, but they could not have foreseen the turn of events.
"You got to always try and plan for the worst case scenario," he said.
Andrew was released from Townsville Hospital on Tuesday and will return home to the Gold Coast.
"I love North Queensland … every day is a Friday up here," he said.