Sailor lucky to survive bar mishap

A 52-year-old Tweed Heads man was injured when his yacht capsized after being washed onto rocks in a dramatic incident at Evans Head at the weekend.

The man, William Sims, had been sailing his 7.6-metre sloop from Iluka to Ballina on Saturday when his fuel pump broke down off Evans Head and he sought refuge in Shark Bay about 5.45pm.

Tony McNally, Commander of Evans Head Marine Rescue, said the sailor declined offers to be towed into the river and sailed in himself.

“The conditions were alright for it; the tide was coming in and there was a 13-knot nor-easterly wind,” Mr McNally said.

“But he came to grief about 50 metres before the sandbar when the wind dropped away and two good waves came over him,” he said.

Witnesses said the yacht was pushed over and dragged to the southern breakwall where it smashed into the rocks, knocking Mr Sims into the water.

He managed to swim back to the boat in a bid to rescue his dog, a black poodle which was tied to the vessel, but was thrown against the rocks by waves.

“He is lucky to be alive,” Mr McNally said.

“We thought he'd be squashed between the rocks and the boat.”

Police said that Mr Sims' dog did not survive the sinking.

They said that Mr Sims was treated at the Lismore Base Hospital for severe lacerations and hypothermia.



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