Moruya Westpac rescue helicopter crew saves five boaters

In a dramatic Christmas day rescue, the Moruya-based life saver helicopter has winched five stricken boaters to safety, three nautical miles off Durras, north of Batemans Bay.

The five had been drifting on the hull of their overturned boat for several hours.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority coordinated the search and said a distress beacon was activated at 8.30am.

A boat had been reported overdue and a weak distress signal was detected near Durras.

The Moruya-based Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter was called in at about 11.30am to search the area.

“After a search, Lifesaver 23 located an overturned Shark Cat about three nautical miles offshore Durras, with five adults sitting on the upturned hull,” a helicopter spokesman said.

Rescue Crew Officer Josh Crouch was winched into the water and three adults were winched aboard Lifesaver 23 and flown to Batemans Bay.

Mr Crouch remained with the remaining two boaters until the helicopter returned. The pair was also winched to safety.

“The men had been in the water for more than three hours and all were suffering from varying degrees of hypothermia,” the spokesman said.

“One was suffering from mild concussion after he hit his head on the boat's hull.”

A Batemans Bay Marine Rescue was sent to recover the vessel.

“Congratulations to our Christmas Day Crew of Pilot Rob Wildman, Air Crew Officer Euan McKenzie and Rescue Crew Officer Josh Crouch,” the spokesman said.

The Moruya-based Lifesaver 23 crew winched five boaters to safety after a three-hour ordeal, three nautical miles off Durras on Christmas morning, 2015. File picture.

The Moruya-based Lifesaver 23 crew winched five boaters to safety after a three-hour ordeal, three nautical miles off Durras on Christmas morning, 2015. File picture.

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