The Ballina Marine Rescue boat still on the beach at South Ballina.
The Ballina Marine Rescue boat still on the beach at South Ballina.

Marine Rescue boat still stuck on South Ballina beach

BALLINA'S Marine Rescue boat remains upside down where it washed up on the beach at South Ballina two days ago.

The boat flipped while performing a rescue on the Ballina Bar early on Monday morning, leaving the crew and the crew of the motor cruiser they were trying to help stuck on the hull, with one stuck in an air-pocket underneath the boat as it was dragged out about two kilometres amdist waves between two and three metres high.

After an hour of waiting, the five people were rescued by the Ballina Jet Boat, which eventually had to be run ashore on Shelly Beach so the rescued people could receive medical treatment.

The Marine Rescue boat washed up, still upside down, at South Ballina on Tuesday several kilometres from South Wall. The broken remains of the motor cruiser it had been trying to help washed up a few hours later.

Pilot and former Ballina councillor Margaret Howes, who lives nearby, has now done another fly-over of the site, where the Marine Rescue boat awaits salvage.

Tenders have been called for a salvage team to come and collect her, but Ms Howes said they would likely have their work cut out for them.

The beach the boat is sitting on is heavily eroded and backed by a sheer cliff of sand between two and three metres high, Ms Howes said.

That would make access to the beach difficult for heavy machinery trying to get onto the beach to retrieve the boat.

"Last time an excavator (hired by NPWS and owned by McGeary Bros at Woodburn) had to go on the beach to bury a dead whale, the NPWS had a lot of problems with the wide access track it created through the dunes. This could be subject to serious beach erosion," Ms Howes said in an email to The Northern Star.

Ms Howes said she also understood there was an Aboriginal burial site somewhere nearby, which could also complicate matters.

Stephen Reading of Marine Rescue said it was unclear how much longer the boat would have to stay on the beach.

Marine Rescue had already called for tenders and was now waiting on one more quote before deciding which company would perform the operation.

Mr Reading said he wanted the boat salvaged "as soon as possible".



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