Friday, August 28, 2009

Rescue off Esperance, Western Australia

Over at the south coastal city Esperance of Western Australia, PerthNow reports another successful rescue and happy-ending story:

A FATHER and son survived more than two hours in the ocean off Esperance after their boat was sunk by a freak wave yesterday.

The pair, aged 59 and 29, were fishing about 140km east of Esperance yesterday afternoon when their 4.5m dinghy was swamped and sank in waters off Cape Arid National Park.

Police and members of the Esperance Volunteer Marine Rescue drove to the park while a rescue vessel and helicopter began the sea search after authorities in Canberra picked up EPIRB distress signal at about 1.50pm.

The pair swam almost 2km before spotted from the helicopter about 300m from shore off Sandy Bight at about 4pm.

A flotation aid was dropped to the men, who were able swim to shore where they were met by rescue teams.

The pair was treated for mild hypothermia by a volunteer ambulance crew before being taken to Esperance District Hospital, where they were assessed before being released.

Police say the men were lucky not to have died at sea and the rescue highlighted the importance of having new 406MHz EPIRBs which have replaced earlier models.

Their vessel has not been located.

Here's a video from Nine News show the rescued father and son pair tell their story. The key to this happy ending story is clearly the EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon). For us outsiders, here's the map of the southwest part of Australia shown in the video where the rescue took place:

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