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A husband and wife are lucky to be alive after their vessel overturned off Little Bay on Sunday afternoon.

A multi-agency response was tasked with the rescue at 12.20pm on 17 October, following distress calls received by authorities and assistance requested through the Surf Life Saving NSW State Operations Centre.

The couple managed to phone Triple Zero prior to the vessel overturning, with Support Operations responding with a jetski, Surf Rescue 30 Offshore Rescue Boat and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter deployed.

Following further sightings from the nearby St Michaels Golf Course, the vessel was located despite only the upside-down hull being visible in the water.

A male and female of Korean descent were located, and both were wearing life jackets at the time.

“The three assets – Support Ski 3, Surf Rescue 30 and the helicopter – were on site quite quickly after being tasked, within three or four minutes,” said Surf Rescue 30 Chief Training Officer, Nixy Krite.

“The lady was clearly in a bad way. Both had taken on a lot of water and were in shock, and they weren’t even 100m from the rocks, so there was no time to be mucking around.”

In an interesting response to the situation, the woman was attached to the bow of the upturned boat by a long rope tied around her ankle.

“What the husband had done, was to wrap his wife in metres of ankle rope,” Nixy continued.

“You don’t train for that, but in that moment, you think through it carefully and methodically and you can’t panic or worry – it is what it is.”

Once the wife was untangled, the pair were transferred to Support Ski 3 and then Surf Rescue 30 where they were taken back into Botany Bay.

“This was a good outcome – yes they’ve overturned their boat, but they wore their lifejackets,” Nixy said.

“They spoke very limited English, but we all speak the same language when we need to be saved.”

Vice-Captain and SR30 driver on the day, Doug Lucas, was proud of the group who were tasked to respond to the rescue and hoped it would prove a sage reminder of the need to observe safe practices on the water.

“It’s important to remember to check the conditions before you go out, log-on log-off with marine rescue, and make sure you have a properly fitting life jacket,” he said.

“We (Surf Rescue 30) have a 7.5m boat and we had reservations about going out there unless we were tasked. The conditions weren’t favourable, and we didn’t want to put ourselves at unnecessary risk.”

Tuesday 19 October 2021