Three men rescued from sinking boat south of Innisfail

Monday 18 November 2013
Three men were rescued from their sinking boat near Lindquist Island in far north Queensland last night after activating their distress beacon.
Media Release

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre detected an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) around 6.30pm AEST last night around 6.5 kilometres south east of Mourilyan Harbour.

The EPIRB was a registered 406MHz GPS encoded beacon and AMSA was able to contact a family member of one of the three men to determine where they were headed and a description of their vessel, as well as obtain an accurate location.

The Cairns-based Queensland Government Air Service Rescue helicopter was tasked by AMSA to locate the trio together with the Mourilyan Coast Guard. The three men were located by the helicopter around 8pm AEST.

The Mourilyan Coast Guard returned the trio to safety. No one was injured.

AMSA's acting General Manager Emergency Response Christine Macmillian said this was an example of correctly using a distress beacon.

'These men went out with a GPS encoded 406MHz distress beacon which was registered with AMSA,' Ms Macmillian said.

'They told a family member where they were going and she was able to relay this onto the Rescue Coordination Centre.

'With a GPS location and a description of the vessel, AMSA was quickly able to task the necessary assets to help these men.

'AMSA encourages anyone heading out on the water or into the bush to carry a GPS encoded 406MHz beacon. A GPS equipped beacon has a location accuracy of around 120 metres and this location can be determined within minutes. Non GPS beacons typically have a location accuracy of around five kilometres and it can take up to five hours to determine a position depending on conditions and terrain.

'It is also important to register your beacon with AMSA so we can contact you or a family member to determine the nature of distress, your location or where you were headed and any relevant descriptions of your vessel or vehicle.

This ensures we can get assistance to you as quickly as possible,' she said.

To register your distress beacon and for more information, visit AMSA's beacon website or phone AMSA on 1800 406 406.

Media enquiries Lisa Martin 0429 504 267.