The Ballina Jet Boat Rescue pulls in a boat that overturned on the bar.
The Ballina Jet Boat Rescue pulls in a boat that overturned on the bar. Marc Stapelberg

PHOTOS: Skipper of capsized boat may face hefty fine

UPDATE, 1.45pm: POLICE are investigating whether the captain of a yacht which was sailing back and forth across the Ballina Bar before capsizing will be fined for reckless behaviour.

Richmond Police District Detective Inspector Darren Cloak said the sailors -- who were rescued by a passing commercial fishing charter -- were lucky to uninjured.

"We understand the men, one aged 45 and the owner the boat aged 56, were sailing a 16ft (4.8m) yacht back and forth and cross the Ballina bar for entertainment purposes," he said.

"On their third time across the bar the wind has caught the sail, capsized the boat and the men were ejected and fell into the water."

Det Insp Cloak said the pair were extremely lucky.

"At the time they capsized we believe it was a four-foot (1.2m) swell with an outgoing tide," he said.

"Fortunately they were wearing life preservers and a commercial fishing boat charter nearby was able to assist."

Emergency services are at the Ballina bar after a boat capsized.
Emergency services are at the Ballina bar after a boat capsized. Marc Stapelberg

Det Insp Cloak said emergency services were activated, including the jet boat and a recuse helicopter, but were not required.

"Attempts have been made up upright the boat were unsuccessful," he said.

"Fortunately no persons were injured."

He said police will interview the captain of the yacht about the incident.

"Police will make a determination as to whether his actions were reckless or not," he said.

"If the captain is found to have been acting in a reckless manner, than fines will apply."

Ballina Jet Boat Rescue skipper Garry Meredith said a team effort assisted at the marine emergency.

"When we arrived a private fishing charter had picked up the two sailors who had been trying to right their boat," he said.

"We managed to right the yacht and with the help of a lifeguard from Lighthouse Beach we towed it back to the sailing club."

 

UPDATE, 1.05pm: PEOPLE on board a fishing boat were able to help the occupants of another boat that capsized on the Ballina bar this morning until emergency services arrived, according to a witness.

Peter Coan, of Ballina, saw the drama unfold.

"We were just here and a light sailing boat went over near the south head… (it was) helped by a fishing boat for about a quarter of an hour and then the police and the ambulance and the helicopter arrived by which time the tide took it out," he said.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crew made sure the occupants of the overturned boat were all found and safe.
The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter crew made sure the occupants of the overturned boat were all found and safe.

"A couple of people on board were okay apparently.

"The fishing boat got one off the boat and one stayed in the water about the boat. The helicopter just watched."

A spokesman from the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter confirmed that crews were tasked to the incident, but were not required to assist with winch rescues.

"Two occupants of the vessel were recovered by a passing charter boat," he said.

"Nobody was injured, but surf life savers are still at the scene.

"The vessel is being recovered by a surf rescue vessel."

 

UPDATE, 12.55pm: THE Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter has been called off a water winch at the Ballina bar after all three occupants of the overturned boat were safely taken to shore by a civilian vessel.

An Ambulance NSW spokesman said all three sailors who were wearing life-jackets will be assessed by paramedics.

He said one man was already on his way to hospital.

"A man who was rescued from the water is being transported by road to hospital," he said.

"Two other men are currently on their way to the ambulance and one appears to suffering from exhaustion. And the other appears okay at the moment."

NSW police are also on scene.

 

Original story: A WATER rescue is currently under way after a boat capsized on the Richmond River bar at Ballina.

An Ambulance NSW spokesman said three people needed assistance.

"We are assisting with an overturned yacht with all the people wearing life-jackets," he said.

"Two people are now on the north side of the riverbank at East Ballina and one person is till in the water and we are looking at winching him up to the helicopter."

It is understood the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was originally tasked to the incident, but then called off. 

The Ambulance NSW spokesman said the person still in water had been trying to right the boat but it appeared he now needed to be rescued.

More to come.



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