COAST GUARD: This vessel lead Friday's rescue mission.
COAST GUARD: This vessel lead Friday's rescue mission. Contributed

Lucky escape for five fisherman after boat sinks near GKI

YEPPOON Coast Guard was called upon to rescued five marooned spear fishermen on Friday evening after their boat sank.

The five men were all Cuban nationals who spoke limited English, were trapped on 'The Child', a rocky island adjacent to Barren Island, east of Yeppoon and Great Keppel Island, after their unattended boat sank while they were in the water fishing.

LUCKY RESCUE: Five fishermen were marooned after their boat sank east of Great Keppel Island and Yeppoon.
LUCKY RESCUE: Five fishermen were marooned after their boat sank east of Great Keppel Island and Yeppoon. Contributed

Flotilla Commander Jim Warren said that the men had been spotted by a passing fisherman, Guard Marine Assist contributor Darren Young, when they displayed a V sheet distress sign at about 4pm on the north side of the island.

Mr Young then made a radio call to Coast Guard Yeppoon radio operator, Ken Hudspith who in turn informed the police and the Coast Guard mobilised a response.

Skippered by Jim Goodsell, the Gormans Removals Rescue departed Rosslyn Bay Harbour at 5.10PM and was on scene at 6.05PM.

Mr Warren said the Coast Guard manoeuvred as close to the rocks as they safely could before asking the men to swim to the rescue vessel.

"They made a couple of trips to ferry their personal gear, spear guns and eskys over to the rescue vessel," he said.

"There were no injuries but they appreciated the water that was supplied by the Coast Guard crew."

SWIMMING OUT: The rescue required the men to swim out to the Coast Guard vessel.
SWIMMING OUT: The rescue required the men to swim out to the Coast Guard vessel. Contributed

The vessel returned to harbour at 7.20pm and the men were met by the owner who had lent the boat to them.

It is understood the person who loaned the boat to the men was a resident of Gracemere and that some of the fishermen were visiting from Brisbane.

Although the sunken 1995 Stejcraft 4.8m runabout boat the men were using was unrecoverable, some equipment, including a large esky was able to be recovered.

SUNKEN BOAT: 1995 Stejcraft 4.8m runabout
SUNKEN BOAT: 1995 Stejcraft 4.8m runabout Contributed


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