Tossed over on the bar

POLICE are investigating an incident that left two fishermen clinging to their overturned boat for almost four hours after it capsized on Saturday.

The men were rescued by Point Danger Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) after their boat, Tiara's Little Screamer, overturned on the Tweed bar just after 2.20am DST.

It is understood the men, aged 29 and 30, had been fishing in the five-metre runabout, a houseboat tender vessel, when they got into strife and began drifting towards the bar. The men were found in lifejackets clinging to the overturned vessel near Cook Island about 6am. They were taken to The Tweed Hospital suffering hypothermia but were discharged later that day. VMR chief skipper Les Radnedge said the men called for help after their boat began drifting towards the bar and were advised by the marine rescue to put their lifejackets on and lay down to steady the vessel.

Tweed police could not confirm what caused the boat to be out of control, but reports have suggested the engine broke down and the anchor line snapped.

The runabout is believed to have overturned after colliding with a rock wall.

It was clear the vessel was in trouble after the VMR lost contact with its occupants after 2.20am, Mr Radnege said. He confirmed the crew aboard the rescue vessel had difficulty finding the drifting boat after initial reports suggested it was still near the bar.

"It was pitch black out there and they had to use the spotlights to search for the overturned vessel," he said.

RACQ Careflight was also tasked to help locate the missing runabout.

It was not until word came from another vessel, whose crew saw the overturned boat near Cook Island, that the rescue crew were able to locate it.

The two fishermen were taken ashore at the Ivory Tavern marina and treated by waiting paramedics before being taken to hospital.

Saturday's conditions made for a busy day for the VMR, with another two overturned vessels also having to be rescued.

Mr Radnege urges all boat operators to log into VMR's radio room and seek weather advice before departing.

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