by Matthew Heap
A day's fishing for five Victorians almost ended in tragedy off Port Stephens on the 6th March when their 8 meter vessel was overturned by a rogue wave as they headed back to port in the afternoon.
GME MT400 EPIRB
The men, Alan Herdman, 54, Paul Guest, 47, Tony Egeberg, 49, Michael Guest, 51, and Michael Swankie, 45, spent a couple of hours in the water hanging onto the upturned vessel until rescue helicopters arrived and plucked them out of the rough sea.
Search and Rescue Authorities were alerted to the distress after the quick thinking skipper of the vessel, Tony Egeberg, activated the GME MT400 EPIRB that they had on board.
According to the Newcastle Herald, Mr 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.
Mr 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 Westpac Helicopter picked up 4 of the men whilst an RAAF search and rescue Helicopter saved the fifth. All men were transported to John Hunter Hospital and discharged at about 7.30pm that evening.
GME has been designing and manufacturing EPIRBs in Australia for over 30 years; during this time literally thousands of lives have been saved in Australia and around the world.
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