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Thursday, May 07, 2009

Rescue off Tweed coast

It is always gratifying to hear successful rescue stories. This one, reported by Ben Dillaway in Goldcoast News, is rather interesting because it happened to the people involved in deploying waverider wave measurement instrument offshore from the east coast of Australia:

ENVIRONMENTAL Protection Agency officers had just installed a device that measured waves when a freak wave came out of the blue and capsized their boat off the Tweed coast yesterday.

The 5m aluminium runabout, chartered by the EPA to launch the Waverider buoy, was returning to shore when it was hit by the wave about 10.30am, 50m out from the treacherous Tweed River bar.

The fast-flowing outgoing tide and pressure waves swept the four crew and boat further out to sea.

The rescue was swift:

About 10 minutes later Gold Coast City lifeguard Scott Wildin found the foursome more than 300m offshore.

"We raced out to them and there were two on the boat and two in the water," he said.

"They all had life jackets on and there were no injuries."

Here are some details from one that was being rescued:

The EPA employee, who gave his name only as Vince, said he was not quite sure what happened.

"I wasn't driving the boat and didn't see what happened but essentially the boat got turned sideways and rolled over," he said.

"Conditions weren't that bad ... well, we didn't think they were that bad."

Tweed-Byron police spokesman Sergeant Stuart Crawford said the Queensland skipper was an experienced operator and was just an unfortunate accident.

"They got caught between two waves -- he (the skipper) described it as a freak wave."

Despite drifting through waters where large sharks have been spotted, Vince said he was not worried.

"We had life jackets on and we could see the shore and the Air Sea Rescue could see us from there so it was pretty obvious we would get rescued."

"If you're going to have an accident somewhere it's the best spot."

While he was thrown overboard Vince said he did not lose any of his belongings.

"Everything of mine survived. I was prepared. I've got zip pockets because I've been on boats before," he said.

"I had nothing important in my other pockets expect for a few lollies and I still have them.

"However, the phone is non-operational."

The experienced skipper described it as a freaque wave. Since no one expects anything worse and the c0ndition was obviously on the calm side, it is most likely was an encounter with freaque wave. I wonder what was being recordered from the waverider they just deployed.

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