Emergency beacon, floating cooler helps save 4

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Australian pleasure boater Scott Smiles grabbed his wallet, a distress beacon and a cooler before jumping off his sinking boat with a friend and their two 11-year-old boys.

The 40-foot, steel-hulled cruiser was already tilting dangerously as it sank and he scrambled to find the essentials while his friend, fitted the boys with life jackets.

Within a minute, they had all jumped from the boat to the relative safety of the sea about five miles from shore.

''You just grab anything you can that will float,'' Smiles said following their rescue by helicopter after spending 45 minutes in the water clinging to the cooler, or Esky, as it is known in Australia.

Click here for the full report by the Sydney Morning Herald and click here for a report by the Daily Telegraph with additional photos of the survivors.