Fishermen spent night clinging to esky after boat overturned

An image from the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter showing the rescue of two men who spent the night in the water after their boat overturned.
An image from the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter showing the rescue of two men who spent the night in the water after their boat overturned.

UPDATE 12.10pm: TWO men rescued by the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter early this morning had spent the night clinging to an esky after their boat overturned.

The ABC has reported the men, aged 25 and 34, issued a mayday about 4pm yesterday and their overturned boat was later spotted floating 13km off the coast of Yamba.

Emergency services and the RAAF searched for the men until 11pm last night before resuming the search at first light this morning.

During the men's ordeal, the men saw some of the vessels out searching for them and at one point got close to a boat that may have been a fishing trawler. The men, who were both wearing life jackets, called out to a person on the boat, but were not heard.

They were suffering mild hypothermia when found and picked up by the Westpac helicopter.

"The water was warm last night and so that's probably saved them as well," Karen Brown from Evans Head Marine Rescue told the ABC.

The men were taken to Lismore Base Hospital for treatment.

9.47am: TWO helicopter rescue services were called in for a dawn search and rescue mission off the coast of Ballina after a vessel carrying two fishermen was reported missing.

In a statement, RACQ CareFlight has said its helicopter and the Westpace Life Saver Rescue Helicopter were both called out for the search about 20 miles off the coast of Ballina, at 4am today.

The boat, an 18-foot half-cabin, had been scheduled to return to Ballina by 5pm yesterday but it never arrived.

The alarm was raised last night, but the helicopters had to wait until first light to find them.

The Westpac helicopter winched two people up from the boat before flying them to Ballina hospital for treatment.

It was not known what injuries the men had suffered or what became of the boat.

Topics:  careflight racq careflight westpac life saver rescue helicopter

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