Divers from Commercial Diving Solutions (from left) Rob Thorman, Greg May and Martin Woschitzka, were called in to help retrieve the ute that sank in the Richmond River at Broadwater.
Divers from Commercial Diving Solutions (from left) Rob Thorman, Greg May and Martin Woschitzka, were called in to help retrieve the ute that sank in the Richmond River at Broadwater. Cathy Adams

Man's ute fished out of water

WHEN a fisherman organises a peaceful afternoon out on the water the last thing he would expect to do is fish his own car out of the river.

Unfortunately, this was the reality last Friday for Chris Booby, of Rileys Hill, near Broadwater.

Waiting for the crane to arrive on Monday afternoon, the only visible sign of his submerged VY Commodore ute was an empty cordial bottle bobbing up and down on the surface of the Richmond River at Broadwater.

Mr Booby and his mate, who was visiting from Western Australia, had backed the ute down the Broadwater boat ramp to launch a tinny.

Mr Booby was in the driver’s seat of the ute while his friend was standing on the ramp trying to undo the ropes connecting the boat to its trailer.

Watching his mate struggle with the ropes, Mr Booby put the handbrake on and got out to help him.

As soon as he got out, the ute began to slide down the slippery boat ramp.

Once the water got under the ute its fate was sealed. The ute, with the boat still attached, began floating away.

“It happened so quickly. I’m not sure if the handbrake failed or if it just slipped,” Mr Booby said.

“Once the water got underneath it, it just floated away.

“I jumped on the bonnet to undo the rope because it was a mate’s boat.”

Unable to untie the ropes, Mr Booby called out to his mate to get him a knife from the fishing kit to cut the ropes.

“He was like Rambo swimming with a knife in his hand,” Mr Booby said, mimicking the movements.

But before his mate could reach him with the knife the ute began to float further away and Mr Booby had to jump off, with the rope only half undone.

“It went down like the Titanic,” he said.

After several minutes the tinny floated back to the surface, but the ute remained on the river bed until Monday afternoon, when several divers and a crane were brought in to retrieve it.

Commercial Diving Solutions in Coffs Harbour organised the retrieval.

The divers managed to retrieve Mr Booby’s wallet from the ute and attached a buoy to the side mirrors, allowing them to quickly and easily locate the ute when the crane arrived.

The ute was safely removed from the river on Monday afternoon, with no oil or petrol spills occurring.



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