Two men have been rescued in the Daly River region after their boat sank on Thursday 11 November.
The men had been making their way from the Daly River Boat Ramp toward Anson Bay when they struck a submerged object. The boat sank within seconds.
Unable to trigger their emergency beacon (EPIRB) or retrieve their mobile phones before the boat sank, the men swam against the tide to a nearby island. They made a ‘HELP’ sign using the lid of a cooler, and waited.
The men spent two nights waiting for help, without any food or fresh water.
On Saturday morning, another vessel was in the area and the skipper came across some debris from the sunken craft. The skipper then located and rescued the stranded men.
The men were taken to Royal Darwin Hospital for assessment and discharged the same evening.
Acting Sergeant Troy Harris from the Water Police Section said, “It appears the men had taken every safety precaution prior to this trip. They had a registered EPIRB with them and the skipper had registered their trip with AMSARC, with an expected return date of Sunday 14 November, so they were not considered overdue.
“When they got into trouble, their safety equipment was not readily accessible in the short time they had before sinking. They swam directly for the nearest land and made efforts to attract attention. Importantly, they stayed put.
“This incident highlights the need for a ‘grab bag’ with safety gear that is easily accessible, because the unexpected can happen, and it can happen in a matter of seconds.
“The men are very lucky to have survived this ordeal, given the remoteness of the area, the presence of saltwater crocodiles and the extreme heat at this time of year.
“We especially commend the skipper of the rescue vessel for saving these two men.”