IN GOOD HANDS: Passengers are loaded on to an ambulance at Cleveland.TWO crew and nine passengers aboard a charter fishing boat that overturned on the South Passage Bar have been returned safely to the mainland.
Paramedics met three passengers, one with a badly lacerated head, at Volunteer Rescue Marine headquarters at Cleveland after the men were returned from Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island.
The bedraggled men declined to talk about their early morning experience.
Senior police praised the braveactions of a police officer who dived into the water to help save those on boardwho could not reach life jackets, saying it was lucky everyone was accounted for.
Water police were called to the bar between North Stradbroke and Moreton islands just after 6am.
Bayside Patrol Group Acting Inspector Steve Hollands said there were potentially direconsequences when those on board were thrown into the water.
“The information that we’ve received is that a water police vessel was the first on scene and one of the officers entered the water to assistin extracting all of the persons on to the vessel,” he said.
“My understanding was the actionsof the officer was very brave.
“With any maritime situation, there’s obviously a delay in getting resources out to them, which heightens the risk, so we’re very grateful that all persons were able to be saved.”
One person wasflown to hospital and nine others have received medical treatment.
OVERBOARD: Two of the passengers leave the VMR boat at Cleveland with a Queensland Ambulance Service officer.
The vessel is being towed back to the mainland and investigationscontinue.
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said one man was airlifted to the Princess Alexandra Hospital with spinal precautions, while the other 10 were taken to the Dunwich Health Service Centre for further assessment.
Some passengers from 10-metre Moreton Island Fishing Charters vessel Firebird appeared to be suffering hypothermia, according to police.
Boat owner Mat Hubbard declined to comment.
Inspector Hollands said the vessel itself, the Firebird, was resting on the sand bar and would hopefully be retrieved later in the day.
Initial reports to police said nine passengers and two crew were on board when the vessel overturned between Moreton and North Stradbroke islands about 6am on Wednesday.
A police spokeswoman said all passengers and crew had been accounted for but one man had a serious back injury whileanother had taken in a large amount of water.
SAFE AND SOUND: VMR crewman Robert Cooper of Wellington Point leaves the rescue boat.
The Rescue 500 helicopter had been dispatched to meetwater police as they headed to Dunwich, on North Stradbroke Island.
Queensland Ambulance Service acting operations supervisor Logan Smith said the charter fishing vessel capsized on the South Passage Bar.
Water police and emergency services were sent to the scene after an emergency beacon was activated.
Two people were flown to Brisbane by chopper and theother nine taken to Dunwich on North Stradbroke Island for medical assessment.
Supt Logan said one patient had a substantial scalp injury that needed treatment.
Redland City Bulletin