News

Men stranded for hours after fishing trawler sinks

The Coombell Star sunk overnight.
The Coombell Star sunk overnight. Halden Boyd

UPDATE: EVANS Head fishermen Brett McMahon and Glenn Deas are luckily to be alive after the trawler they were on sunk last night, leaving the pair stranded for more than four hours.

The trawler, Coombell Star, is believed to have run into trouble shortly after 11pm on Wednesday night when its net became snagged.

Marine Rescue Northern Rivers regional controller Stephen Reading said the fishermen, who weren't wearing lifejackets, managed to get off the trawler and clung to floating buckets nearby.

"It went down so quickly they didn't get an emergency call out or anything," he said.

"Literally the vessels pull themselves under because they're just trying to power ahead and they're being held and they'll just go on to one side."

Fortunately, a tinny that had been secured to the roof of the 45ft trawler floated to the surface and the two men were able to climb in.

"When they eventually got into this tinny one of the guys actually had a phone in his pocket and the phone was still working so they were able to make some calls and that's the only reason we knew the incident occurred," Mr Reading said.

The fishermen were able to make contact with other commercial trawlers in the area who began searching.

At 2.50am, Ballina Jet Boat crewman Gary Meredith said they received a call about the trawler from police.

Mr Meredith said the location of the fishermen was difficult to determine as the phone was regularly dropping out of reception.

During the search, which was conducted between Evans Head and Ballina, the Jet Boat received a call from crew onboard the commercial trawler Havanna who were able to give them a possible location, about 2km off Chinaman's Beach, Evans Head.

Using night vision goggles, the crew, Gary Meredith and Brad Heard, were able to pick up a light from the mobile phone which the fishermen were using to attract attention.

"We pulled up beside them at 5.15am," he said. "They were cold and in a little bit of shock.

"They were lucky that (the tinny) broke away when the boat sunk, because that gave them floatation.

"If that didn't break away, they had nothing."

A spokesperson for Ambulance NSW said both men were assessed and treated for exposure when they arrived on shore but no one required hospital transport.

 

INITIAL REPORT: A POPULAR Evans Head fishing trawler, Coombell Star, has sunk overnight, leaving two men stranded for more than four hours at sea.

Marine Rescue Northern Rivers regional controlled Stephen Reading said at about 1.30am the trawler's net became snagged on an object and the two Evans Head men onboard, Brett McMahon and Glenn Deas were forced to abandon ship.

Marine Rescue Northern Rivers regional controller Stephen Reading said the men clung to floating buckets before a tinny secured to the roof of the trawler came lose and the men were able to get onboard.

Mr Reading said while the trawler's emergency signal appeared to have failed, the men were able to use a mobile phone to contact nearby commercial fishers.

A search involving Evans Head and Ballina Marine Rescue, Ballina Jet Boat Rescue and commercial fishermen commenced and eventually the two men in the tinny were located at about 6am when someone spotted the light from their mobile phone.

Both men were treated for shock and had sustained minor cuts and scratches.

Topics:  emergency services, fishing trawler, trawler




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'All I heard when my baby cried was ‘you’re a terrible mum'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images of Katie Dykes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

KATIE'S battle with PND is not unlike many mothers.

'I just thought all mums got no sleep'

MELTOPIA battled PND with all four of her children.

4 survival tips for mummas heading back to work

The few reminders every working mum needs to read.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Teens lead police on dangerous highway chase at 180km/h

Dangerous chase on Pacific Highway.

Teens then hid in bushland after they were forced to stop at Ballina

Where and when to vote in the federal election

federal election voting booth

Photo: Trevor Veale / The Coffs Coast Advocate

Comprehensive list of polling booths in Richmond and Page

What electorate are you in? The boundaries have changed

Polling booth at Casino Civic Hall.
Photo The Northern Star Archives

You may even be in a different electorate to your neighbour

Latest deals and offers

Animal Justice Party

Animal Justice Party candidate for Page Anna Ludvik makes her pitch to voters

Kevin Hogan's pitch

Page MP Kevin Hogan's final pitch to voters

Kudra Falla-Ricketts pitch for Page

Kudra Falla-Ricketts' final pitch to Page voters

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%

DIY: How to build a backyard fire pit

DIY stars and Weekend magazine columnists Ayden and Jess Hogan.

Would you build this for your backyard?