A man overboard has had a lucky escape after water police launched a full-scale search for him this morning when his dog and property were found drifting in Moreton Bay.
At around 6am a fisherman spotted Heidi the German Shepherd swimming by among various other floating items including included a fuel tank, tackle box and wetsuit.
Heidi and the property were quickly scooped up and transported back to Manly Boat Harbour to Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
Brisbane Water Police were notified of the discovery and quickly swung into action, initiating a rescue operation around 7.25am involving a the Rescue 500 helicopter, four police vessels, Marine Safety Queensland jet ski, Volunteer Marine Coast Guard and Volunteer Marine Rescue. Heidi was taken to the vet for a check-up and was thankfully uninjured.
During the search operation a number of items were located indicating that a boat had gotten into trouble, with rescuers fearing the worst. Finally at around 10.25am the skipper was spotted clinging to a sunken 4.1 metre vessel near the Brisbane boat passage, Moreton Bay.
The 63-year-old man told police that yesterday evening the boat lost power and began to take on water.
Amazingly, Heidi had been treading water for around 11 hours while her owner drifted in Moreton Bay for nearly 15 hours. The skipper was transported to hospital but was thankfully not seriously injured.
Senior Sergeant Jay Bairstow from Brisbane Water police gave Heidi some much needed food and a rest in the air-conditioned comfort of the OIC’s office until her human returned.
“We would take this opportunity to remind boaties to plan for the worst when they’re out on the water,” Senior Sergeant Bairstow said.
“Always wear personal flotation device and ensure that your safety equipment, including EPIRBs, are tested and in good order,” he said.
“Thankfully there was a happy ending to this search and Heidi was able to be our honorary PD for the day.”