Rescuer: Jeremy Harmsworth: “They’d been in the water for about half an hour.”
Rescuer: Jeremy Harmsworth: “They’d been in the water for about half an hour.”

Brothers save mates after boat ‘sunk like a stone’

JEREMY Harmsworth was out on a regular fishing trip off the Capricorn Coast on Friday morning when his brother Todd spotted a flare.

The brothers, who are stalwarts of Wanderers Hockey Club, were anchored near Perforated Island, 40 nautical miles north of Rosslyn Bay Harbour.

They quickly launched into action, Jeremy heading his 5.5m aluminium boat Black Barra towards the smoke from the flare.

"We had a fair idea someone was in trouble - you don't let a flare off unless you really have to," Jeremy said.

"We were probably four or five kilometres away and as we got closer I could make out two people holding on to an esky."

When the Harmsworths got to the scene, they realised the two men were fellow club members Sam Carson and Clinton McKay who were holding tight to the esky after their boat had sunk under them.

"They both had life jackets on. We pulled them in and had a chat to them," Jeremy said.

"We knew they were out there but we didn't fish together and we didn't have communication with each other.

"They'd been in the water for about half an hour. They were a little bit stressed but other than that they were fine.

"They said the floor of the boat just gave away as they were driving it. They reckon it just sunk like a stone.

"I think they were pretty lucky to grab the EPIRB and the flares.

"They didn't have time to grab their phones or wallets so I'm assuming it all happened pretty quickly.

"There was no sign of the boat, just floating debris, bits and pieces everywhere."

Jeremy said Sam and Clinton had four flares and the one Todd saw was their last.

They had also activated their EPIRB and Jeremy contacted Yeppoon Coast Guard to let them know they were safe and he was bringing them back to shore.

"We spent the next hour or so picking up debris and bringing it all aboard," Jeremy said.

"We spent another hour and a half, two hours trying to search for the boat to get a location for the Coast Guard but we couldn't find it on the sounder so we headed back.

"Because we had the extra weight on board we could only do a slow speed so instead of taking an hour and a half to get home, it took three hours."

The men arrived at Rosslyn Bay Harbour about 5.15pm.

"Obviously their car keys were in the boat so we dropped Sam and Clinton at Emu Park," Jeremy said.

"I haven't caught up with them yet but I reckon it would be their shout. I can't call them, they haven't got phones, they're on the bottom of the ocean."


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