'Extremely lucky': Incredible survival story of fishermen
UPDATE 2pm: FISHING buddies are "extremely lucky" to be alive according to officer Shaun Pearce who helped winch them to safety off a remote island this morning.
The aircrew officer at RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service explained just how lucky crews were to find the two lost men off the coast off Stanage Bay.
Running out of fuel, the helicopter nearly turned back to re-fuel before they spotted an esky floating in the water which led them to the two middle-aged fishermen.
After winching them to safety, Mr Pearce said their story of survival was incredible.
The tourists told crews their vessel starting taking on water around 7pm on Monday night so they called a friend to alert authorities.
After the boat eventually capsized, they clung for life on the hull for more than 13 hours as the current took them out to sea.
When daylight finally broke, the men made the decision to get off the boat and make a break for Quail Island as the ocean was only dragging them further from shore.
Mr Pearce said the duo desperately tried four times to scale the unforgiving oyster rocks once they reached the island and "shredded" their hands in the process.
When crews found them, Mr Pearce said they were "waving frantically" about 600m up the rocks on the island.
He said there was "a lot of blood" and they were "quite lucky" to be found".
"They are extremely lucky to be alive," he said.
INITIAL STORY: A FLOATING blue esky was the beacon of hope for rescue teams searching off the coast of Stanage Bay for two lost fishermen.
RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service were tasked to search for an activated EPIRB in the waters around the popular fishing destination around 5.30am after a vessel went missing on Monday night.
According to QF24 Thirsty Sound flotilla commander, Barry Williams, a friend of the men on board alerted authorities around 8.30pm when they did not return.
Stanage Bay coastguards patrolled surrounding coastlines until around 11.30pm before they were stood down.
Aerial searches were unsuccessful for a number of hours until the crew located a blue esky which led them to the two fisherman stranded on rocks.
Their boat was upside down and washed up on the rocks nearby.
The men had allegedly been stuck on the rocks for several hours before crews winched them to safety using the aerial retrieval vest around 9am.
On-board critical car paramedics treated both men for some cuts before they were airlifted to Rockhampton Hospital in a stable condition.