Missing Fishermen Found After Drifting in Boat for 12 Hours

RACQ CQ Rescue has found a boat drifting for almost 12 hours with four missing fishermen aboard about 37 kilometres off Sarina Beach today.

The rescue helicopter was tasked at 11 am to a search and rescue mission for a 4.3-metre vessel with four people aboard which set off from Cape Palmerston about 9 pm yesterday. The vessel was last seen at midnight.

The boat was located drifting off the coast between Sarina Beach and Campwin Beach about 1.30pm. RACQ CQ Rescue spokesperson Naomi Noy said the helicopter crew quickly established communication with the vessel and fishermen aboard by lowering a radio from the aircraft down into the boat.

All four people aboard were well and they told the rescue helicopter crew the boat had suffered engine problems. It is believed they had been drifting along the coast for almost 12 hours and did not have an EPIRB aboard.

RACQ CQ Rescue remained on scene hovering in the vicinity of the boat until Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) arrived to tow the boat back to shore about 2.30pm.

Mrs Noy said it was vitally important all boat owners had the correct safety equipment aboard whenever they hit the water, that it was well maintained and that they knew how to use it.

“Having an EPIRB on board means help is at hand a lot quicker because we can pinpoint location with greater accuracy when anyone is in distress rather than wasting valuable time and fuel during a search and rescue.”

The helicopter crew returned to base about 3 pm.