Man rescued off Hervey Bay after whale collision sinks boat
FLOATING in the middle of the ocean in the darkness 20 nautical miles off Hervey Bay, a boatie was left wondering whether help would reach him in time.
This was the terrifying situation one man, in his 40s, found himself in after his boat collided with what is believed to have been a whale off the coast of Hervey Bay about 3am on Sunday.
The impact with the marine animal caused the eight metre-long vessel to sink.
The boatie's life was left hanging in the balance on Sunday as he dangled in cold water for about an hour-and-a-half.
With the help of a light beam from an RACQ LifeFlight helicopter, he was found about 4.30am floating approximately 20 nautical miles from Hervey Bay.
He was pulled aboard onto a Queensland Water Police boat.
Paramedics treated the man in his 40s, for hypothermia.
Hervey Bay Water Police Senior Constable Craig Collings said the man had also suffered injuries to an arm and ribs.
"He was quite fatigued and relieved at the same time," Snr Const Collings said.
"It was a little bit difficult to actually get him into the (police) vessel."
The lucky survivor had been wearing a life jacket during the ordeal, and had activated an emergency beacon.
His rescue was a joint operation between multiple agencies.
Marine Rescue Hervey Bay (VMR) was one of the parties which took part in the radical rescue mission.
VMR vice commodore Jill Barclay praised the man for having the appropriate equipment on hand, which very well may have been what saved his life.
"This isn't something which happens regularly as whales are generally aware of boats on the water," Ms Barclay said.
"This particular could have been sleeping near the surface and not heard the boat."
The wrecked vessel washed ashore on Fraser Island later on Sunday, in the Awinya Creek area.