Distress beacon aids in maritime rescue off Mackay
A distress beacon has aided in the rescue of four people off Mackay this morning after their seven-metre recreational boat began taking on water.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) detected an emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) at 6.50am AEST about 33km northeast of Mackay, near St Bees Island.
AMSA tasked the RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter 412 and diverted a number of nearby recreational boats and the Queensland Fisheries patrol vessel KI Ross to investigate the signal.
At the same time, Hay Point Vessel Traffic Services overhead a radio call from a person on the boat, reporting they had sustained a cracked hull and were taking on water.
The Queensland Fisheries patrol vessel KI Ross and RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter 412 arrived on scene at about 8.15am and located all four people seeking refuge on an exposed rock off St Bees Island.
Their boat was overturned and semi-submersed beside the exposed rock. All four people were transferred by the Queensland Fisheries patrol vessel KI Ross to Mackay Volunteer Marine Rescue at sea, who returned them to Mackay Harbour this morning.
No major injuries were reported.
AMSA General Manager of Response, Mark Morrow, said the rescue was another great success and a testament to the fact that distress beacons help save lives.
“I’d like to congratulate the many parties involved in this morning’s rescue — search and rescue in Australia is a collaborative effort and we do it well,” Mr Morrow said.
“If you’re heading outdoors on the water or in the bush, we recommend you have a GPS-encoded distress beacon like an EPIRB or a personal locator beacon (PLB).
“Register it with AMSA online and keep your details, including emergency contacts and trip plans, up to date at all times.”