Fisherman survives ordeal at sea



GOLD COAST (AAP). ? A will to live and an intimate knowledge of the shark-infested waters around him helped a NSW fisherman survive 35 hours at sea floating more than 100km on a bamboo pole.

Dave Richardson, a 36year-old father of three, was recovering from his incredible ocean ordeal in a Gold Coast hospital yesterday as an armada of trawlers joined an air and sea search for his 68-year-old father, George.

The pair was aboard the trawler Sea Mist 2 when it suddenly sank off Moreton Island just after midnight on Friday.

Mr Richardson was found by a recreational fisherman off the Gold Coast on Sunday, 100km from where the boat sank.

The Richardson family declined to speak publicly yesterday as they struggled with Dave's miracle rescue and a growing fear George would not be found.

Despite ideal search conditions yesterday, there was no sign of George Richardson or his trawler.

Water police and marine experts say Dave Richardson had stayed alive by using his knowledge as a fisherman and a will to live.

"It's his own personal ability to stay alive. His state of mind, his own personal outlook does count a hell of a lot," police Inspector Tony Marks said.

Dave Richardson was able to save his strength by wrapping his limbs around a narrow five-metre long bamboo pole that provided just enough buoyancy to keep him afloat. Another challenge was avoiding sharks.

"There's a lot of sharks and a lot of big animals out there. Behind any trawler of a night you'll find 15 to 20 sharks," said Sea World's marine sciences director Trevor Long. "Once you start to imagine there is something around you like a shark it is frightening and you have to have the power over your mind to say 'I'm okay, I'm all right and I'll get through this'."



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