10 August 2022 

Miraculous moment a fisherman clinging to his capsized boat is rescued: ‘He’s lucky to be alive’

A quick-thinking police officer grabbed a farmer and his boat to rescue a fisherman in the nick of time before the capsized craft he was clinging to sunk to the bottom of the ocean off southern Western Australia.

Rescue services scrambled to reach the man who called triple-0 from his mobile phone and set off a distress beacon after his boat began sinking in Wilson Inlet just after 9am on Wednesday.

A police officer from the town of Denmark called on a local farmer who fetched his boat and the two set out to get the desperate man who was clinging to his the upturned vessel about 1.5km from shore.

Navigating the choppy conditions, the men sped to rescue the fisherman who they feared would be exposed to the cold water and chilling winds.

Denmark police Acting Sgt Chris MacAulay said the 24-year-old from Albury had been fortunate that the farmer was well equipped to help make the rescue.

‘Police responded to the incident immediately and an officer went to a farm next to the Hay River and a farmer there had a boat and knows the area well,’ Sgt MacAulay said.

‘They have gone out into the inlet, approximately 1-1.5km south of the Hay River. As they arrived they found a young male clinging on to the boat, which was pretty much submerged, and he had a lifejacket on.’ 

The man, who had been fishing alone, had clung to his boat for about 30 minutes before help arrived.

The capsized vessel sunk shortly after the man was picked up. 

He was shaken but came through otherwise unscathed.

Sgt MacAulay said the fisherman had been well prepared with safety gear, including the distress beacon. 

distress beacon
Shortly after the man was pulled to safety his capsized vessel sunk to the bottom of the ocean
distress beacon
The 24-year-old man who clung to his vessel for 30 minutes was shaken but uninjured by the ordeal

‘He was brought back to shore and checked over but didn’t receive any injuries,’ Sgt MacAulay told Perth Now.

‘It was quite cold this morning so we were worried about hypothermia but luckily he was OK.

‘He had all the equipment and has done everything he could to notify us.

‘His call helped us locate him quickly.

‘We are very lucky the farmer was there with his boat and knows the area well, because if it wasn’t for the quick response of that farmer it could have been a lot worse.’ 

Other regional services also responded to the man’s distress calls including Volunteer Marine Rescue, surf lifesavers, a helicopter, a police drone and additional police officers from Albany. 

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