Water Police, Navy, AMSA combine to save yachtsmen

Local water police were involved in a coordinated search and rescue mission in the early hours of Monday morning, rescuing four men who activated a distress beacon when their 48-foot yacht began to sink, 27 miles southwest of Mallacoota.

The Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority also provided assistance, deploying aircraft and diverting ships as part of the rescue effort.

The four men had just finished their dinner on board the vessel at around 8.30pm on Sunday night, when they returned to the galley to find themselves ankle deep in water.

They were unable to find the cause of the flooding, and deployed a life raft to escape the yacht, which sunk and was not recovered.

Leading Senior Constable Graham Shoobert, from the Gippsland Water Police, said he and two fellow officers arrived at the scene around 1.30am on Monday morning.

They were able to rescue the men, who were all suffering from hypothermia and shock, while one also sustained a shoulder injury.

“We were tasked by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), who themselves tasked the Dornier aircraft and diverted a few ships,” he said.

“The four men, who were en route from Hobart to Sydney, had left their yacht because it was sinking.

“We got them off the life raft and into our new police boat, the VP09, which we only took possession of a few weeks ago, and returned them safely to Eden.

“They were all fairly experienced seafarers, and a few of them have competed in Sydney to Hobart races.”

All four men were checked over by paramedics upon their return to Eden, with one transferred to Pambula Hospital suffering from possible hypothermia and a shoulder injury.

A hospital spokesperson said he was kept in for observation and released on Monday afternoon.

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