RACQ CQ Rescue crew peer out of their helicopter. FILE PICTURE
RACQ CQ Rescue crew peer out of their helicopter. FILE PICTURE Emma Murray

Rescue crew find man floating on hull off Mackay coast

UPDATE 10.34am: WITHOUT an EPIRB a long night spent alone at sea could have been even longer for a fisherman found stranded on his boat. 

RACQ CQ Rescue was tasked by the Australia Maritime Safety Authority to conduct a search for a distress beacon which had been activated about 13km east of Mackay about 1.30am today. 

The helicopter rescue crew found a lone fisherman sitting on his upturned boat in the dark. 

RACQ CQ Rescue rescue crewman Ben McCauley said the crew was able to spot the boat easily despite the poor lighting conditions because of the strobe light on the man's EPIRB. 

"This is a perfect example of how EPIRBs save lives as well as save rescuer's time and money," Mr McCauley said.

"If he didn't have an EPIRB on board, who knows how long he would have been sitting out there in the water and in the dark before anyone even knew he was in distress. Activating the beacon meant we knew who and what we were looking for and that we were able to find him quickly and get him to safety.

"He's really incredible lucky," Mr McCauley said.

After spotting the emergency strobe immediately after they took off, the crew orbited the area and guided a Volunteer Marine Rescue vessel to the overturned boar within 10 minutes. 

A spokeswoman for RACQ CQ Rescue said the man was sitting on the hull of the upturned boat waving when the helicopter crew found him. 

The VMR vessel took the man back to Mackay Harbour with RACQ CQ Rescue remaining overhead for support.

VMR was returning to the scene to tow the upturned vessel to Mackay Harbour early this morning.


INITIAL: A MAN found floating on the top of his upturned boat more than 12km of the coast is uninjured after rescue crews located him.

RACQ CQ Rescue located the man who was floating off the Mackay coast after he activated a beacon about 1.30am.

A spokesperson for the organisation said the helicopter rescue team was tasked to the mission by the Australian Maritime Saftey Authority. 

"A distress beacon registered to a six-meter fishing boat, called The Hooker had been activated about 1.30am," they said. 

"The boat and sole occu[pant (were) located very quickly seven nautical miles east of Mackay." 

Volunteer Marine Rescue assisted with the recovery of the man.