Rescue a classic team effort
By Jamie Brown
A TEAM effort by anglers in the Evans Head Fishing Classic saved the skins of two fishermen in trouble off South Evans Reef on Saturday.
Lakes Entrance visitors Ryan Eurell, Ryan Kimey and Joel Allen were first on the scene, after the occupants of a small tinny were savaged by a rogue wave.
The sunken reef is something of a sleeper, and works frighteningly well in a seemingly innocuous south swell.
Saturday was just such a day, with intermittent sets pushing over the reef every couple of minutes, rearing up and breaking ferociously.
According to Wayne Lollback, who arrived next and took the two men aboard his boat, it appears the occupants of the tinny were too close to the reef when their engine failed and they drifted into danger.
After capsizing, their anchor fell to the reef and lodged firm. Every time a large swell came through their tinny was pulled under and the pair washed off, forcing them to swim back to the upturned hull after the wave had passed.
By the time the Lakes Entrance boys passed them a knife to cut their anchor rope, and towed them free, the bedraggled fishermen were close to hypothermia.
Mr Lollback hauled them aboard, told them to strip off and gave them warm coats to wear.
Meanwhile, the Evans Head Coast Guard boat arrived on the scene, skippered by Commander John Frankham and crewed by Scott Mohr.
It took three attempts to right the tinny, with Mr Lollback hauling on a rope tied to its gunwale, and the Coast Guard heaving on a rope tied to the bow.