Anglers plucked from sinking boat

THREE fishermen, one from Gladstone, were winched to safety after spending about 90 anxious minutes drifting on top of their almost-fully submerged boat off the Capricorn Coast on Saturday.

The trio were rescued by the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Service who flew the men to Rockhampton Hospital for observation.

The group was suffering from minor exposure and one person had a cut leg.

It’s thought their twin-hulled vessel hit something in the Curtis Channel, about 25 nautical miles off the coast between Emu Park and Keppel Sands, on Saturday morning.

A spokesman for the helicopter service said the men told them the boat started taking on water quickly and was soon submerged, with the group finding sanctuary on the boat’s protruding nose.

The group activated the distress beacon on board.

The helicopter crew was unsure what it would find because the beacon had changed ownership, but not been re-registered correctly.

Each fisherman was brought up individually by the rescue crew after being directed to jump off the boat and make their way over to the rescue swimmer who placed them in a harness.

Members of the Yeppoon Coast Guard retrieved the boat, taking it to nearby Hummocky Island, where it was yesterday being held for police inspection.

Conditions were described as reasonably calm with 1.5m to 2m swells.

The channel is popular for boats, and authorities were concerned another vessel could have hit the submerged boat at night if it hadn’t been moved.