A hero fisherman has saved the life of his injured mate after an epic three-hour swim through freezing waters off the Gold Coast.
A freak wave struck the men's dinghy as they returned from a fishing trip late on Tuesday afternoon, leaving one of them with two dislocated shoulders and a dislocated hip.
They had just enough time to grab their lifejackets before the boat went under.
In a heroic act of endurance, the injured man's mate hauled him across two kilometres of freezing open ocean, battling strong currents and big waves.
Three hours later the pair came to ashore on South Stradbroke Island, but were still in danger as they hadn't set off their distress beacon and had no shelter as temperatures plunged into the single digits.
The men were able to gather branches, which they used to make a crude shelter while they awaited rescue.
Relatives of the men contacted police on Tuesday night when the men failed to return from the trip and the search area was narrowed, based on where the men usually fished.
At one point, the freezing men could see a search helicopter on a beach on the island, but they weren't able to signal the crew.
Sergeant Tony Nelson said the pair knew the chopper would be back and resigned themselves to wait in the cold.
"Once the boat capsized, they were able to adapt quite quickly," he told reporters.
"They were always confident that they would make it to the shore. I think they were fortunate."
The men are both in a stable condition in hospital.
The man who towed his mate to shore is being treated for hypothermia.And this man is most certainly the hero! The Seven News article has an appropriate headline: "Hero fisherman saves mate in epic swim."