1. Stricken 61yo yachtie forced to row
Andrea Davy | 31st October 2011
Tags percy island group
, racq-cq rescue
, steven richmond
Steven Richmond, right, was winched to safety
by RACQ-CQ Rescue
crewmen after his yacht sank.
WHAT do you do after you've just watched your prized vessel and only home sink to the ocean floor? You start rowing.
That was Steven Richmond's only choice after his 11-metre catamaran
, Felix, hit a submerged object and began to take on water
near the Percy Island Group about 10am on Saturday.
"I would have been about 15miles (24km) away from the island when I hit something," the 61-year-old Gladstone man said yesterday.
"I started pumping the water
out with bilge
pumps... at around 12pm I cancelled a rescue call because I thought I was going to beat it.
"My batteries went flat after a while and at around 3pm she really started to sink... I couldn't call out a May Day because my batteries were flat so I activated my EPIRB
RACQ-CQ Rescue crews received the call from the emergency
beacon and flew to Hannah Rock, about 80 nautical miles south-east of Mackay.
In the meantime Steve had started rowing his dinghy
toward Percy Island.
"I wasn't too concerned when I was in the dinghy
because the sea wasn't too rough," he said. "I did see a remora though, and I know they are the sort of fish
that associate with big sharks."
Steve had been rowing for about two hours when he was rescued and estimates he would have had another four hours to row.
"The CQ-Rescue team did a fantastic job," he said. "The chopper flew over me and they lowered a man into the boat and winched me up.
"The down wind
from the chopper was incredible and I was worried it might capsize
my dinghy, but it didn't... they did a great job."
Steve was flown to Middle Percy Island where he was assessed by his rescuers and is now staying with friends.
2. The waters around Mackay are having more than their share of sinkings and rescues at the moment. Just a week after a lone sailor had to be rescued by helicopter after his yacht sank of the Percy Group of islands, a West Australian family's catamaran has sunk not far south of the Percy's, in Shoalwater Bay.
of four has been rescued from a drifting life raft. The two adults and two children
, girls, aged six and 13, paddled in an inflatable liferaft
to nearby rocks after they abandoned their 15-metre catamaran, Seaside Spirit. They had only purchased the boat two days before.
had set out to sail the catamaran home to Western Australia
after they purchased it in Rosslyn Bay, and on Friday, after sailing a mere 18 miles towards West Australia
, noticed that it was starting to take on water. They were already bailing on Friday afternoon, after they discovered the bilge pump
was not up to capacity, police said.
However, they still went to bed
on Friday evening, and then awoke at 3am today to find the port side of the boat submerged. They then tried to get onto a life raft on the roof of the boat, but the vessel flipped and they ended up in the water. Police said the family managed to scramble into the life raft and activate two emergency
beacons around 5am.
The Coastguard boat and a rescue helicopter from Mackay were sent to searchafter they were alerted by the family's emergency beacon. They winched the family to safety
at about 6.30am (AEST)
Police confirmed four people were airlifted from a 15-metre Shark Cat that has taken water and was sinking near Townshend Island in Shoalwater Bay, 18 nautical miles from Rosslyn Bay marina at 7.50am.
They were unhurt and taken to Rockhampton. A dream sail over after 18 nautical miles.