Torch lights way to rescue
A SMALL dolphin torch can be thanked for the rescue of two local men from a dinghy near Cape Liptrap close to Wilsons Promontory last Wednesday night.
The men escaped serious harm after their 50 foot trawler, owned by Pound Creek’s Greg Buckley, was swamped just five kms from the cape.
They were found in a small dinghy, the trawler nowhere to be found, and it was a small torch that lit the passage for Inverloch SES volunteers.
Coxswain Charlie Deering received the call for help at 6.30pm, and together with other SES crew members Dale Johnstone and Tim Kusch, they found the men two and a half hours after they were forced from their trawler.
“It was a real race against the clock. We were trying to get out there before it was dark,” Mr Deering explained.
“Visibility was so poor. We could’ve been within 50 feet of them and not seen them. Luckily, we saw them almost straight away.”
With swirling winds, four metre waves and pitch black skies, it seemed unlikely a rescue could be made.
But eventually the six volt Eveready Dolphin Torch lit up enough of the sky for one of the crew members to spot it.
“It was amazing how bright it was,” Mr Johnstone, out on his first rescue mission, said.
“They were soaking wet, the base of their boat had about 200mm of water, and they were being thrown around.”
The men were suffering mild hypothermia and were taken back to the SES base at around 1am, six and a half hours after their first call for help.
Shortly after they were taken to the Wonthaggi hospital where they spent the night.
Mr Deering was pleased with the rescue, saying both his SES crew members and the rescued men had followed safety procedures perfectly.
“The guys did all the right things. They had flares, they evacuated their trawler safely,” he said.
“Their EPIRB meant we were able to get close enough to them to spot their torch.”
As all SES volunteers are trained in first aid, they were able to monitor the men until they returned to shore.
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