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Torres Strait, Search and Rescue

Four people had a lucky escape this morning when they were located on a channel marker after their vessel had capsized off North West Reef locally referred to as Reef 1 approximately seven nautical miles from Thursday Island.

At about 3pm on April 28, three men aged 51, 38 and 21 and a 16-year-old boy left on a yellow five meter vessel from Seisia Wharf in Cape York on route to their home on Moa Island.

At about 11pm police were notified that the four occupants of the vessel had not arrived at their destination and had not been heard since they departed.

A coordinated land and sea search and rescue operation began overnight with the assistance of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, involving a fixed wing aircraft and vessel.

At about 7am all four were located on a channel marker by Thursday Island Water Police on board the G.J Olive, approximately 900 metres from the capsized vessel.

Due to the sea conditions a QG Air rescue helicopter was called to winch the four off the channel marker.

All four were recovered safely and transported to Thursday Island Hospital for assessment.

It is believed that the vessel required to be refueled just after 5:30 pm and during the process the
vessel was swapped and then flipped over.

Fortunately, it was low tide and they were able to walk across the reef to the channel marker.

 

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