Carnarvon trio safe after rescue from Bernier Island

Liam BeattyMidwest Times
Marine Rescue volunteers leave The Leeuwin II on Sunday afternoon.
Camera IconMarine Rescue volunteers leave The Leeuwin II on Sunday afternoon. Credit: Marine Rescue Carnarvon/Supplied

Three Carnarvon residents, who were left stranded 28 nautical miles off the Gascoyne coast after their yacht broke down in rough seas have been rescued after spending the night on Bernier Island.

The 34-foot catamaran ran aground on Monday night prompting a rescue attempt from Marine Rescue Carnarvon who were alerted to the incident at 8.30pm.

Marine rescue commander Noel Gaitskell said the drive shaft of the vessel had malfunctioned and when the crew put down an anchor, the rough conditions caused the rope to break.

“The conditions out there were terrible and our rescue vessel couldn’t get within 150m of the island,” he said.

“After five hours, the mission was called off and the volunteers returned to Carnarvon at 4am.”

Mr Gaitskell said the crew of the rescue vessel had been able to determine the two men and one woman were safe on the island and were going to sleep there overnight.

“They refused our offer to pick them up,” he said on Tuesday adding the trio had organised a friend to tow the boat back.

However, rough seas again prevented the retrieval of the yacht and Mr Gaitskell said the stranded three were safely returned to Carnarvon at 6.30pm on Tuesday in good spirits.

“They never brought they yacht home,” he said. “I’m not sure what the plan is but the conditions are expected to be terrible until Thursday.”

The volunteer rescue group has had a busy week, with three incidents occurring over three days.

Mr Gaitskell said a man was rescued after his boat sank near Bernier Island on Saturday, while the group helped St John Ambulance evacuate a teenager who dislocated his shoulder aboard the Leeuwin II on Sunday.

“It’s been quiet for the last few months up until now, I’d love to give a big thanks to our guys for the hard work they’re putting in,” he said.

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