Three fishermen found themselves fighting for their lives last Wednesday when their trawler, named Sea Rouge, overturned and sank after its net was snagged on a coral reef off New South Wales, Australia, according to a report in Yahoo News.
A good Samaritan found the trawler’s deckhand, Michael Williams, 39, washed up on a beach last Thursday. According to officials, he says he swam for 10 hours, heading towards Cape Byron Lighthouse, to reach land and alert authorities of his friends, who were clinging to an ice chest for survival.
Covered in cuts, bruises, and badly sunburned, the deckhand was rushed to the hospital as the Maritime Safety Authority sent out a helicopter early Thursday morning to find the crewmate and the skipper. The crewmate John Jarrett, 41, was found about five miles from shore at 8:15 a.m. still clinging to the cooler and was airlifted to BallinaHospital for exhaustion and dehydration, according to a report in the Australian.
The skipper of the boat, Charlie Picton, at some point reportedly lost his grip on the cooler and floated away. Jarrett says he would periodically have to dump water out of the cooler to keep it afloat, which involved holding Picton with one hand and the cooler out of the water to dump it and get more air into it, according to The Australian report.
While authorities are still searching for Picton, the family is not hopeful for his survival. Jarrett says he will never go offshore again, according to The Australian.
- Elizabeth Ellis