Dramatic coastal rescue operation

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Dramatic coastal rescue operation

Afisherman was winched to safety by a helicopter after his dinghy capsized in rough waters at Cape Douglas, near Port MacDonnell, on Saturday morning.

Police said the alarm was raised with them at 11am after an upturned boat was spotted with one person in the water and another on the shore.

It is understood one fisher was able to wash into shore holding onto the dinghy and the other one was stuck in the breakers.

He eventually made his way to the landmark stack outcrop known as Haystack Rock and awaited rescue.

The decision to summon the Ambulance Victoria H.E.M.S. rescue helicopter with paramedics from Warrnambool 160km away was made at 12.20pm.

The man was taken on board the aircraft about an hour later.

The helicopter then flew him the 35km to the Mount Gambier Airport and then he was taken by the SA Ambulance Service via road to the Mount Gambier Hospital for monitoring.

“The man was in a stable condition with upper body and lower body injuries,” an Ambulance Victoria spokesman said.

His fellow fisher was also examined at the hospital and police understand that he has no serious injuries.

According to eyewitness accounts reported in the city press, the two fishers had been checking their recreational lobster pots on a reef when a wave swamped their boat.

The helicopter rescue was viewed from the shore by a significant number of onlookers as well as Mount Gambier police patrols and the SA Ambulance Service.

There are unconfirmed reports that both fishers are residents of Port MacDonnell.

Mount Gambier Independent MP Troy Bell said there were lessons to be learned from Saturday’s incident.

“The marine rescue incident on the weekend has again illustrated our need for a local rescue service,” Mr Bell said.

“I have been campaigning for this, alongside Grant District Council for over 10 years now.

“Just last month I put forward a motion in Parliament for the State Government to fund a Marine Rescue Unit for Port MacDonnell.

“I am glad to see there was a successful outcome on the weekend, I just hope it does not take a tragedy before further action is taken.”

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