A middle aged man from Shoalhaven Heads, the sole occupant of his vessel, was lucky to survive its sinking in the Shoalhaven River near Shoalhaven Heads today last Sunday (29 July 2012). Bill Carter, Director Illawarra Region, said “When the man’s 15 ft fibreglass runabout started taking on water at around 8am, he radioed Marine Rescue Shoalhaven at our Search and Rescue Coordination Centre in The Pilot Station at Crookhaven Heads.”
MR Shoalhaven’s fast response rescue vessel SA 30 responded to the emergency call from Shaw’s Creek at Greenwell Point and arrived on scene within twenty minutes. The sinking vessel was about 500 metres into the Shoalhaven River from Berry’s Canal and as the rescue vessel arrived the stricken boat slipped below the surface with the man ending up in the water.
Fortunately the man was wearing a life jacket and was also holding onto a small float.
“He was pulled from the water by the crew of SA 30 within a few minutes, however even this short time in the water this was long enough for him to show signs of shock and hypothermia,” said Bill Carter.
He was treated on the rescue vessel and transported to the Shoalhaven Heads wharf where a short time later he was treated by NSW Ambulance Service personnel. SA 30 returned to the scene and was able to recover the submerged vessel which by then had become a hazard to navigation. It was taken under tow to Shoalhaven Heads boat ramp where it was refloated. NSW Roads and Maritime Services are investigating the cause of the incident.
Marine Rescue NSW urges all boaters to note the fact that the man was wearing a lifejacket and the quick response of the rescue vessel prevented the incident from having a far more serious outcome.