South Coast search after message in a bottle found

Lifesaver 23 has spent Tuesday morning searching the coast after a message in a bottle was found on a Potato Point beach, asking for help. File photo.

Lifesaver 23 has spent Tuesday morning searching the coast after a message in a bottle was found on a Potato Point beach, asking for help. File photo.

A message in a bottle found on a Potato Point beach has sparked an air search between Broulee Island, Bermagui and Montague Island. 

Eden water police acting senior sergeant Steve Winslow said the message was dated January 2 and was found on Monday morning by campers.

It read “enough food for two days, boat out of fuel, scared, send help”.

It also listed latitude and longitude coordinates, and names of a male and female.

Mr Winslow said the location was a quarter of a mile west of Montague Island, Narooma. 

On Tuesday, the Moruya-Based Westpac Lifesaver Rescue helicopter was tasked to search for any debris or boats along the coast between Broulee Island and Montegue Island. 

It suspended its search after an hour.

“The two names on the note, we have searched our systems for and there is no record,” sergeant Winslow said. 

“We also searched the AFP, Victorian and Queensland police records and nothing came up. 

“We have contacted the Australian Maritime and Customs and they have no record of the names.” 

Mr Winslow would not say if the situation was possibly considered a hoax. 

“You can never be sure. We are just doing what we can at the moment, without launching a full search.” he said. 

“Marine Rescue has nothing on their systems, there has been no EPIRB activation, no flares, no distress calls or anything.” 

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter CEO Stephen Leahy said the helicopter was tasked by NSW Police to search the waters off the Far South Coast after a message in a bottle was found, suggesting two people were in distress.

“Lifesaver 23 searched the coast between Broulee and Bermagui, then the waters around Montague Island,” he said. 

“(The crew was) looking for a vessel that might be in distress, any persons that might be in the water or any debris or other signs that a boat had sunk.  

“Nothing of interest was located by the crew.   

“The helicopter had activated its Radio Direction Finder which is a device that detects and triangulates distress beacon signals. No distress signal was detected at any stage of the search.”

The search lasted over an hour and has now been completed.

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