Man and his dog rescued off Cairns

Friday 12 March 2021
media release
  • AMSA responded to a beacon activation south of Cairns yesterday.
  • Authorities found an overturned dinghy in the surf zone off Palmer Point.
  • A man and his dog were found and returned to Cairns by helicopter.

The AMSA Response Centre helped coordinate the safe rescue of a man and his dog off Palmer Point in Far North Queensland last night, the 11th of March 2021.

At around 7pm, the AMSA Response Centre detected a beacon offshore south of Cairns near the mouth of the Russell River.

AMSA Search and Rescue Manager, Mr Jamie Storrie, said the Response Centre was quick to coordinate search and rescue activity.

“We tasked a Cairns helicopter to the scene, as well as a nearby trawler and the Queensland Police arranged a local response from Russell Heads,” Mr Storrie said.

“Upon arrival after dark, the responding assets found a 4.3m dinghy overturned in the surf zone off Palmer Point. Thankfully, the occupant of the boat and his dog were seen ashore on the beach.

“From there, the responding helicopter was able to land in the dark, which is not an easy thing to do, and just under an hour and a half after the initial beacon alert; the man and his dog was recovered and taken back to Cairns uninjured.”

Mr Storrie said his team work very hard with other agencies to help those who find themselves in distress.

“The search and rescue system in Australia relies on partner and support agencies such as, and in the case of this incident; Queensland Police, Queensland Government Air, ReefVTS and vessels of opportunity such as trawlers.

“It is always a relief when we have a quick rescue and survivors are able to be taken home safely.”

The AMSA Response Centre, also known as the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC), is a 24/7 hour operations room based in Canberra. The AMSA Response Centre has been operating since 1997 and coordinates maritime, and aviation incidents that fall within the Australian search and rescue region.

Australia has one of the largest search and rescue areas in the world, covering approximately a tenth of the world’s surface. The Search and Rescue Officers who work within the AMSA Response Centre are highly to coordinate timely, life-saving assistance and come from a diverse variety of backgrounds.