A man has been found clinging to a marine beacon in waters off Caloundra on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast after his boat ran aground.
Emergency services were alerted to a 13-metre yacht that had run aground on a sand bar, between the northern tip of Bribie Island and Caloundra shortly after 4pm on Tuesday.
Lifeguards on a nearby beach also noticed the vessel washed up in shallow waters, sparking an extensive air-and-sea search in nearby waterways.
A dog was found on board the vessel, which had its motor still running, but no people were located inside.
The man, who had been reported missing earlier in the day, was later found some eight kilometres from his boat clinging to a marine beacon in the ocean at 7pm.
The Caloundra Coastguard said the man had fallen several metres from his vessel while trying to secure something on the boat.
He later swam to a beacon, climbed up a ladder and waved to a nearby ship for help.
A Queensland police spokesperson said the man had gone “overboard and swam to a marine beacon before flagging down a boat”.
Police say the man has not suffered any significant injuries.
Man fell into ocean while adjusting rope
Senior Constable Murray Lyons from Sunshine Coast Water Police said a search began after the boat was found still running with a dog and a phone onboard.
“We called in volunteer marine rescue … [we were] running about six or seven boats and two helicopters … and advised all the shipping in the area,” he said.
Senior Constable Lyons said rescue teams spent some two-and-a-half hours scouring the ocean before before a ship spotted a man waving his arms on the top of a water beacon.
“He had fallen off the boat while trying to adjust a rope … the boat kept going,” he said.
“The gentlemen has quite a bit of experience – he’s quite a good swimmer. He stayed calm and spotted the beacon while he was drifting in the water.
“He’s fine, although he has had quite a swim … he’s a bit sore around the ribs where he hit the water.”
Senior Constable Lyons reminded anyone onboard a boat in open water to wear a life jacket.
Queensland Water Police will now work to remove the boat from the Bribie Island beachfront.