Fisherman grateful to crew who rescued him

Tamra CarrGeraldton Guardian
Jared Ash, Dave Reed, Philip Wych, Graeme Lucas and Jordan Drage reunite after the marine rescue off Horrocks Beach.
Camera IconJared Ash, Dave Reed, Philip Wych, Graeme Lucas and Jordan Drage reunite after the marine rescue off Horrocks Beach. Credit: Tamra Carr, Geraldton Guardian

Fisherman Philip Wych says he was too exhausted to say “thank God you’re here,” when he was rescued from a capsized boat in late August.

But he wants his saviours to know he “sure was thinking it”.

Mr Wych and friend Dave Reed were sailing from a “secret” fishing spot off Horrocks Beach when their 4.2m boat hit a large wave about 1km offshore.

The pair lost $1200 of fishing equipment, their day’s catch and were stranded in cold water too rough for them to swim in.

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After an hour, they were rescued by fishermen on the Colin A3, including skipper Jared Ash and crew Graeme Lucas, Graeme Cleary and Jordan Drage.

“Could hardly breathe by the time they got there,” Mr Wych said.

“But it was just lucky they did.”

The A3 crew were recently honoured by Mid West-Gascoyne police for their lifesaving response to the August 27 incident.

Mr Ash said the story of the capsized boat spread through Horrocks like “wildfire,” alerting him and the crew to the incident quickly.

He said it was not his first marine rescue and the small community were always ready to come together to save people at sea.

“It’s a pretty amazing community, we’ve done this before,” Mr Ash said.

The capsized boat was later towed back to shore by Anthony Jupp and Tyson Drage on a commercial vessel.

Sergeant Matt Donkin, officer-in-charge of Northampton Police Station, said the rescue was a huge community effort from people watching the disaster from the shoreline and contacting police, water authorities and boat owners.

Inspector Dave Hooper said community initiative was a pivotal police resource, particularly in areas when the nearest marine rescue station was a significant distance away.

Geraldton Volunteer Marine Rescue Group was deployed to the rescue and a chopper was available nearby.

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