22 February 2023

Four airlifted from rough seas after vessel capsizes north of Tathra

| Katrina Condie
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The Merimbula Marine Rescue unit was called to an overturned boat near Tathra. Photo: MRNSW.

Four people were plucked from the water by rescue choppers after their vessel capsized in rough seas north of Tathra today (Tuesday, 21 February).

Marine Rescue crews from Merimbula and Bermagui, along with water police and two rescue choppers, were called to the overturned boat which was located around 14 kilometres east of Goalen Head.

A Marine Rescue NSW spokesperson said the four occupants were winched from the water by helicopter and taken to Merimbula Airport where they were assessed by Ambulance paramedics. NSW Ambulance confirmed no members of the group required further treatment or hospitalisation.

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The 7.5 metre plate aluminium boat was registered in Victoria and the crew activated an EPIRB around midday.

The spokesperson said a decision was made to leave the overturned vessel in the water and a marine hazard warning has been issued for boaters.

It’s unsure what caused the boat to capsize, however weather conditions may have contributed. A marine wind warning was issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for the Eden Coast at 10:30 am today.

The rescue follows a dramatic three-and-a-half-hour mission by the Merimbula 30 rescue vessel over the weekend after a black marlin slammed into the engine of a private fishing boat more than 32 kilometres off Tura Head.

Crew on boat

The Merimbula MR crew was called to tow a vessel after it was hit by a 70 kilogram marlin on Sunday. Photo: MRNSW.

The skipper of the 6.7 metre fishing boat said they were trawling near the shelf and hooked the 70 kilogram marlin just before 1 pm on Sunday.

“We were fighting it and it did a U-turn and slammed into the engine.”

“It happened so quick,” the skipper said.

The marlin hit the engine, punching a hole in its canvas cover and cowling, disabling the vessel’s power.

“It was a freaky thing,” the skipper said.

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Merimbula Marine Rescue towed the boat to Tathra and Unit Commander Bill Blakeman said it was an unusual call-out.

“I’ve had a couple of shark-related incidents over the years where they attacked propellers, but never a marlin disabling a vessel,” he said.

The Merimbula Marine Rescue Unit is looking forward to welcoming a new vessel early in March.

The 11.3m NAIAD vessel, the Merimbula 31, is one of 38 new rescue vessels funded by a $37.6 million four-year State Government investment to support the vital, life-saving work of Marine Rescue NSW volunteers.

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