'Lucky' escape for anglers

BALLINA bar claimed another vessel on Saturday morning when a five-metre twin-hulled aluminium fishing boat capsized while its crew was attempting to negotiate the treacherous crossing.

Two Woodburn fishermen were thrown into the cold water of the Richmond River by a freak wave that caused the boat to roll.

The accident occurred soon after 11am as the men entered the river after a morning fishing off-shore.

According to Australian Lifeguard Services, a team of lifeguards was training on the river on board the Ballina Jet Rescue Boat at the time of the accident.

Northern NSW lifeguard coordinator Stephen Leahy said two rescue jet skis and crews were quickly on the scene to help the men, who had scrambled onto the hull of the semi-submerged boat. Both men were cold but not injured.

Mr Leahy said lifeguard jet ski teams and the jet rescue boat cleaned up the debris, including hundreds of metres of ropes, tubs, clothing, rubbish bins and marker poles.

A short time later, a Coast Guard vessel arrived and a lifeguard swam a tow rope over to the submerged boat and secured it to tow to safety.

“Both men were very lucky that rescue teams were close by when the accident happened,” Mr Leahy said.

Due to the large size and weight of the boat, the salvage operation continued into late Saturday afternoon.



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