The family of a couple who died in a boating accident off Coral Bay say the tragedy has brought them closer together — uniting them in their mission to celebrate their loved ones and raise thousands for rescuers. Through the fog of grief, the family of Bob and Jan Oostryck were able to raise more than $50,000 for local marine emergency services. Mr and Mrs Oostryck, in their 70s, were on board a 6.1m boat when two huge waves pushed it over near Ningaloo Reef on June 16, knocking them unconscious and trapping them underwater. The accident happened so suddenly there was not enough time to get to the safety equipment on board. Their youngest son, Ryan Oostryck, and his girlfriend Galina tried to resuscitate them, but were forced to make the difficult decision to tie their bodies to the vessel, swim for four hours and walk for a further 21/2 hours in order to raise the alarm. Mr Oostryck said the family was heartbroken after the accident but had been “sticking together and helping each other to work through things”. “Our parents were truly wonderful people, and were amazing parents and grandparents,” he told the Midwest Times this week. “They were kind, intelligent, genuine and hardworking. They were always generous with their time and gave back to the communities they lived in.” That community spirit has filtered through the family, with the Oostrycks launching a GoFundMe page after the accident to support the emergency service operations in Coral Bay. Five months on, Mr Oostrycksaid the family was amazed by the more than $50,000 donated to its fundraiser, which he believes proves people want to support the volunteers who look after communities. “There have been a number of accidents and incidents in Coral Bay in recent years,” he said. “We are aiming to buy a new ambulance with the money from our fundraiser ... ideally, we’d like to see an all-in-one emergency services facility established.” The two marine rescue groups involved in the mission to recover Bob and Jan’s bodies — Exmouth and Coral Bay — were recognised at the recent WA Fire and Emergency Services Awards gala and given the 2020 outstanding group operations award. Exmouth Volunteer Marine Rescue commander Rusty Ellis said while the award win was “sensational”, what was most special was meeting with the Oostryck family after the awards in Perth. Ryan Oostryck said the award was “well deserved” and his family extended their “heartfelt thanks” to the teams involved in the recovery of his parents’ bodies. “Several of them knew our parents personally, which would have made it even harder, and we won't forget their efforts,” he said.