The Westpac Rescue Helicopter was deployed to the boat's last known position.
The Westpac Rescue Helicopter was deployed to the boat's last known position.

Lucky timing helps save men's lives after boat capsizes

Update 4.45pm: MRNSW Northern Rivers Regional Operations Manager John Murray said there was "no doubt three lives were saved" due to the quick response of crews, who were conveniently together when they got the emergency call.

He said crews were able to response so quickly because they were having dinner together when the call came in.

"We were having a leadership workshop and we were all out to dinner with unit commanders so that's how we all activated our vessels really quickly.

"It was a rather good result.

"Having all the unit commanders together at a leadership workshop meant we could get out there really quick and get the job done.

"The man (who was hospitalised) was ok this morning and was expected to be released today after a minor abrasion and hypothermia.

"We can't confirm how the incident happened."

Original story: AN 83-YEAR-old man was transported to hospital last night after a small boat overturned south of Evans Head, throwing three men on board into the water in the dark.

All three patients had hypothermia.

NSW Marine rescue said the boaters activated their emergency beacon just before 7.20pm.

Volunteer crews from Marine Rescue Evans Head, Ballina and Iluka Yamba were immediately activated and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was deployed to the boat's last known position.

The helicopter stood overhead while the crew of rescue vessel Evans 30 located the upturned 6m centre console boat.

Crew members Scott Mohr, Lance Fountain and Bradley Burgess rescued the three boaters from the open water and provided first aid treatment while transporting the trio back to shore, where a waiting NSW Ambulance transferred the elderly man to hospital.

The crew of rescue vessel Ballina 30, Glenn Sanders, Bill Ewen, Gary Baker and Phil Causley, recovered gear from the water, righted the capsized boat and took it under tow to the Evans Head boat ramp, where it was returned to its trailer.

The crew of Iluka Yamba 30 was Peter Richards, Doug Luckie, Michael Fitzgerald, Ian McGuigan and Adrian Burley. Communications support throughout the rescue operation was provided by teams from Marine Rescue Evans Head, Iluka Yamba and Terrey Hills.

MRNSW Northern Rivers Regional Operations Manager John Murray congratulated the rescuers on the swift and effective response to the emergency.

"These boaters found themselves in a terrible situation, thrown into the water in the dark," he said.

"There is no doubt three lives were saved tonight through the tremendous work of everyone involved in this operation.

"This response again demonstrates the value of MRNSW volunteers' professional training and state-of-the-art rescue vessels and equipment and the cooperation and coordination between our emergency services."



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