In a boating emergency

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Channel 16 on VHF 
(distress and calling channel)

Channel 88 (27.880 MHz) 
on a 27 MHz radio

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9450 2468

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News & Media

  • Trawler crew recovering after escaping capsize
  • March 05, 2015

A major search operation was mounted when a trawler sank three nautical miles off Evans Head on the Northern NSW coastline at 1.30am today.

The trawler’s skipper and deckhand are recovering from minor shock and cuts and scratches after escaping the capsized vessel.

Another trawler operating in the same area off Snapper Rock alerted Marine Rescue Evans Head to the trawler’s plight at 4.30am.

The MR Evans Head duty crew, Skipper Tony McNally, Justin Crisp, Scott Mohr and Robert Brown, was quickly under way, crossing the Evans bar by 5.05am on board Evans 30 to join other local trawlers already searching an area 3nm east of Snapper Rock.

Deputy Unit Commander Kira Hartland and Watch Officers Steve and Julie Cooper maintained communications from the radio base.

Ballina Jet Boat Rescue and Ballina 30, from Marine Rescue Ballina, also were deployed to the search operation. Soon after arriving at the trawler’s last known position, EH 30 received a report that the trawler crew were proceeding to shore in their vessel’s aluminium tender.

DUC Hartland said it was believed the trawler’s nets had become snagged on an obstruction, pulling one side of the vessel under water, causing it to capsize.

“The skipper and deckhand jumped into the water and grabbed hold of a fender and buckets before the tender worked free of ropes and popped to the surface. It all happened so quickly that neither was able to reach a lifejacket,” she said.

“The pair then bailed as much water out as possible and pulled themselves on board, before attempting to paddle towards shore with a sign that came free of the vessel.”

At 5.45am, the Ballina Jet Boat Rescue crew, using their infrared camera, spotted a light from the skipper’s mobile phone and quickly recovered the pair, returning them safely to Evans Head Boat Harbour, where they were met by a waiting NSW Ambulance.

MRNSW Northern Rivers Regional Controller Stephen Reading congratulated the rescue and trawler crews who had taken part in the search in the dark.

“Our emergency services regularly train together to ensure they can operate seamlessly in a search operation such as this,” Mr Reading said.

“The support of other vessels in the area was tremendously helpful this morning and thanks must also go the commercial operators for their efforts to find their colleagues.”


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