Man forced to jump from sinking yacht

A MAN had to jump off a sinking yacht as six foot breakers washed over it at the eastern end of Facing Island.

Volunteer Marine Rescue received a distress call at 11.30pm Friday from a man who said his 37ft yacht was "going to sink".

It was one of four call outs in five days for the VMR and only one call was made via a VHF radio.

Chief controller Hamish McLeod said that was disappointing.

"We would encourage all vessels to carry VHF radios," he said.

When the rescue crew arrived, the 61-year-old man was sitting perched on the highest part of the helm without a life jacket.

Mr McLeod said it had been an almost impossible task to save the man.

"The closest our rescue vessel could get was 30-40m. It was a very difficult task," he said.

"We floated a life ring on a long line as close as we could to his vessel, which was difficult in the rough seas and it was as black as the inside of a black cat.

"Our crew convinced him to jump and swim."

Earlier that night, at 8.35pm, VMR had been called to help the man when he ran aground.

"At (that) stage we had no fixed position for the vessel and the man only had a vague intermittent mobile phone," Mr McLeod said.

"He had no engine and no idea where he was in the dark."

VMR found the yacht near Facing Island with help from the Gladstone Harbour Control but could only get within 50m of the yacht.

Mr McLeod said the yacht was on its side and would continue to be destroyed by waves until it was salvaged and removed.

The man was taken to Gladstone Hospital and treated for hypothermia.

He has recovered from the ordeal and was released from hospital on Saturday morning.



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