UPDATE, 2.20pm: AUTHORITIES are assessing whether two boats that capsized on the Evans Head bar this morning can be salvaged.
Roads and Maritime Services Maritime principal manager, Sonia McKay, said four people ended up in the water after two separate incidents around 5.30am today. Earlier reports indicated that five people were involved.
“None of the people are believed to have been seriously injured, although two people were taken to hospital,” she said.
“Roads and Maritime Services Boating Safety Officers have towed the two boats which were drifting offshore and are assessing whether the two capsized vessels, one 5.3 metres long and the other 4.5 metres long, can be salvaged.”
UPDATE, 1pm: MARINE Rescue Evans Head is being kept busy today as more fishing boats have braved a treacherous bar crossing today.
Unit commander Kira Heartland said skippers and boat owners needed to carefully check weather and wave size before they decided to go out.
“Vessel owners need to look at conditions and know their own ability,” she said.
“Earlier today we had two boats capsize on the bar within 15 minutes.”
Ms Heartland said while conditions have improved since, more small boats attempted to head out after five people were rescued during two separate incident around dawn today.
She said it was a serious concern.
The two vessels were unable to be retrieved and are positioned upside down to the north-northwest of the shark buoy.
Roads and Maritime will now attend the site.
“This is a timely reminder that all vessels should watch the bar carefully before heading across the bar and consider all conditions in relation to the vessel you are operating in,” Ms Heartland said.
“Vessel owners need to take responsibility to look at current conditions and we encourage them to come up to the lookout and assess conditions before they head out.”
UPDATE, 11am: MEMBERS of the Evans Head-Casino Surf life Saving Club rushed to the beach to assist when two fishing boats capsized earlier today.
According to club president Ben Redman, one man suffered “deep lacerations to his head and was bleeding” when lifesavers reached him and another man who were afloat in the ocean.
Mr Redman said they were alerted around 6.30am.
“We put a page to our after-hours team,” he said.
“Two members arrived and went straight out on rescue boards and when the others arrived the rubber duck was launched.
“They were pretty happy to see us.”
Mr Redman said the members did an excellent job in assisting in all facets of the incident.
“Our people pulled them out of the water near Airforce Beach,” he said.
“One man was taken to hospital with deep lacerations to his head.”
The fishermen were aged in their 40s and their 50s, Mr Redman said.
“Not a nice place to be in the ocean at 6.30 in the morning, bleeding and thinking about sharks,” he said.
“The water temperature is not too bad but the wind chill made it very cold.”
A real team effort was in place during the rescue Mr Redman said.
“We had our club vice-president David Sly, our vice club captain Aiden Yourell, my wife Teena Redman helped out with the first-aid, our chief instructor Donna Watts helped and members of the call-out team John Plankovitch and Paul Ellem, were there,” he said.
“I’m really proud of everyone they all did a really good job.”
Mr Redman said people should be really careful to check conditions before launching a boat.
“Everyone wants to go out to catch a fish and the bar conditions weren’t favourable,” he said.
UPDATE, 10.30am: A MAN who was thrown from a capsized boat, suffering a gash to his head, was found bleeding right near the shark drumlines.
Marine Rescue Evans Head unit commander Kira Heartland said the man was very lucky.
“He had a gash to his head from the incident,” she said.
“The man was bleeding into the water and he was right by the shark drumlines.”
She said he was brought into the beach by surfboard where ambulances were waiting.
Ms Heartland said the people saved during two separate boat rescues at the Evans Head bar earlier this morning was due to “excellent inter-agency cooperation”.
“The fishing boats which capsized on the Evans Head bar this morning are still about 800m north of the bar about 200m out to sea,” she said.
“I can still see them there, they are small vessels with single, aluminium hulls.
“When we went out earlier to see if we could tow them in they were tangled up in anchor-lines.”
Ms Heartland said as Marine Rescue did not undertake salvage operations. Another agency will retrieve the vessels.
“Bar conditions are much better now,” she said.
“There a reasonable sized swell on the Evans Heads bar, earlier today there was a caution as while there were good lulls, the larger breaking waves were pitching forward across the shallow bar.”
Ms Heartland confirmed the people from the first overturned boat were brought to the river pontoon by members of the public.
“The second group were paddled in on surfboards,” she said.
“These rescues are another example of great inter-agency work between Evans Head Marine Rescue and Evans Head-Casino Surf Life Saving; I am so proud of everyone’s complete professionalism to their duty, this dedication saved lived today.”
Ms Heartland said new volunteers are welcome at Marine Rescue Evans Heads.
“We are currently in our winter recruitment at the moment,” she said.
“Expressions of interest can be made by message, visiting the base or online at https://www.marinerescuensw.com.au/volunteers.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our mission of saving lives on the water.”
UPDATE, 9.15am: ROGUE waves have been blamed for causing two boats, carrying a total of five people, to overturn in separate incidents this morning.
Marine Rescue Evans Head deputy unit commander Karin Brown said the first incident occurred at 5.45am.
“It seems a rogue wave came through and caught the first boat unawares as it crossed the Evans Head bar, with both people thrown into the water,” she said.
“They were rescued by a passing fishing boat and brought back to the pontoon on the river.”
Ms Brown said around 6am another rogue wave caught the second boat carrying three people as the boat crossed the bar.
“The Evans Head Surf Club went out and helped bring in the three people who were on board, they had been in the water for about 15 minutes,” she said.
“We activated our vessel Evans 30 and tried to bring the capsized boats in but conditions were against us.”
Ms Brown said it was unknown if the boats skippers and passengers were wearing lifejackets at the time of the incidents.
She said the bar has a little bit of white water, with occasional large waves coming through.
More to come.
Original story: EMERGENCY services were this morning tasked to attend an incident where two boats capsized on the Evans Head bar.
It is understood two people were treated for non-life threatening injuries with one transported to Lismore Base Hospital.
An Ambulance NSW spokeswoman confirmed four road ambulances were alerted early this morning to attend the incident.
“Ambulance NSW was alerted at 6.41am today,” she said.
“We had four road ambulances on scene and two to attend the patients and one was transported to Lismore Base Hospital.
More to come.