‘Mayday’: Crew relives terrifying ocean rescue off Cairns

A DIVE boat crew has told of a terrifying rescue of a stranded vessel off the coast of Cairns during the height of the wild weather caused by Cyclone Niran.

When a "mayday call" came over the radio of the F.V Hellem on Monday afternoon, Dyllan De Jong, 20, said his team steeled themselves to go back into the high seas to search for a boat that was "in big trouble".

They were about four nautical miles from the Cairns coastline with waves "smashing us in the face" when they began to look for the stranded catamaran.

"The skipper came down and said we've got a bit of an emergency and we had to turn around," he said.

 

Cairns dive boat the FV Hellem rescues a stranded vessel off the coast of Cairns during a wild storm on Monday caused by tropical cyclone Niran. PHOTO: Dyllan De Jong
Cairns dive boat the FV Hellem rescues a stranded vessel off the coast of Cairns during a wild storm on Monday caused by tropical cyclone Niran. PHOTO: Dyllan De Jong

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"At that stage it was as rough as guts, it was pretty full on, but we knew it was the right thing to do.

"If we were in trouble in those conditions we'd want someone to help, too."

It took the commercial dive boat team almost an hour navigating the storm to spot the small sailing boat, the Grizzly Adams.

They rigged up a tow rope and locked it to the front bow of the vessel and began the treacherous journey back towards the Cairns marina in the dangerous conditions.

"The rain felt like needles piercing my skin," De Jong said.

Two empty boats can be seen drifting out of the mouth of Mourilyan Harbour at Innisfail during the height of the storm caused by tropical cyclone Niran on Monday. PHOTO: Supplied
Two empty boats can be seen drifting out of the mouth of Mourilyan Harbour at Innisfail during the height of the storm caused by tropical cyclone Niran on Monday. PHOTO: Supplied

 

"We were getting drenched by waves and you could hear (kitchen) plates smashing.

"It was pretty loose, but to be able to help people was a pretty cool experience."

The three members on board the Grizzly were uninjured.

It comes after four 'ghost boats' remain lost at sea after wild winds lashed the Mourilyan Harbour marina on Monday morning.

Boaties were searching the Pacific Ocean coastline near Innisfail last night for the missing vessels which were dislodged from their mooring during galeforce winds.

Originally published as 'Mayday': Crew relives terrifying ocean rescue off Cairns



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