Five fishermen rescued in wild seas off NSW coast

FIVE Victorian fishermen are lucky to be alive after being rescued from their overturned 8m boat off Port Stephens on the NSW Central Coast yesterday.

The hapless men were pulled from rough seas by rescue helicopters after spending two hours clinging to their capsized boat.

According to the Newcastle Herald, the group from Melbourne were staying in Nelson Bay for a week-long fishing trip, and returning to shore when a four-metre wave spun their boat around and flipped it upside down.

The impact saw Alan Herdman, 54, and Paul Guest, 47, thrown clear of the boat and into the water. The remaining crew, skipper Tony Egeberg, 49, Michael Guest, 51, and Michael Swankie, 45, managed to remain in the boat as it capsized.

Egeberg is being lauded as a hero after his quick thinking saved the lives of two of his fishing mates and alerted the authorities to the boat’s whereabouts.

Egeberg told the Newcastle Herald that while treading water in the boat’s hull he grabbed a distress beacon and lifejacket then tied a piece of rope to a chair before swimming to the surface.

”Without the EPIRB (emergency distress beacon) we were gone,” he said.

”I managed to tie a rope to the boat and that way Alan (Herdman) and Paul (Guest) could cling to the rope while the rest of us hung onto the boat’s motor.

”Without that rope those two would have floated away.”

The men were transported to the John Hunter Hospital last night and after treatment for  hypothermia and cuts and bruises were all discharged.

The group last night thanked Westpac, Australian Search and Rescue and the Williamtown RAAF for their efforts.

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