Three men were rescued from this 11m converted trawler after it started to sink off Fraser Island.
Three men were rescued from this 11m converted trawler after it started to sink off Fraser Island. Hervey Bay Volunteer Marine Resc

Three men rescued from sinking boat

A GYMPIE man and a Tin Can Bay man were two of three people rescued from a 1960's converted trawler as it sank off the western side of Fraser Island in the early hours of Friday morning.

Gympie man John Gate's motor cruiser, converted from a trawler, had set off from Tin Can Bay around midday Thursday and anchored at Fraser Island's Yankee Jack Creek about 5pm. He was on the trip with Tin Can Bay resident Tony O'Neil and Noosa's Barry Deans.

It was the vessel's maiden voyage as a cruiser.

Mr Deans said that about 1am on Friday, the trio realised the anchor must have dragged and put a hole in the bottom of the boat.

"I'm pretty certain the anchor dragged and brought us in a lot closer to shore," he said.

"Then when the tide has gone out, we didn't have enough water under us and maybe a plank has sprung or we hit a rock."

He said as the tide started to come in, they were aware the boat was taking in water.

"Our pumps couldn't keep up," Mr Deans said.

He said they phoned 000 about 4am and the Volunteer Marine Rescue arrived to rescue them about 6am. Despite the boat being almost submerged in the high tide, VMR skipper Gary Brown said he thought the vessel was still salvageable.

"Apart from taking on water somewhere, it has sunk in pretty shallow water," he said

The three men were taken to Urangan Boat Harbour, arriving about 8.30am.

Mr Deans said about a year had been spent converting the 40ft timber 1960's trawler into a motor cruiser.

Gympie Times


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