Sunday, March 02, 2008

Boat Sinks, Fisherman Swims 12 Hours To Shore

A fisherman swam 12 hours to shore and another found clinging to debris was rescued after 30 hours in the sea as authorities searched for a third person after a fishing trawler sank off Australia's eastern coast. The alarm was first raised when 39-year-old deckhand Michael Williams reached a beach in Northern New South Wales state after swimming for 12 hours, state police said in a statement. "He's very strong," his mother, Fay Williams, told reporters outside the hospital where he is recovering in the town of Mullumbimby.An air and sea search continued through the night and a second deckhand, John Jarrett, was found in the water clinging to a floating fiberglass shrimp-sorting tabletop about nine miles off the coast of Ballina. Jarrett had spent 30 hours in the water, police said. He was plucked from the sea by a rescue helicopter, which took him to a hospital in Ballina, helicopter rescue service spokesman Andy Christie said. The search continued for the trawler's skipper. Tracey Jiggins, spokeswoman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the search, said 10 planes and helicopters were continuing to search 370 square miles of ocean for the lost captain. The trawler's nets became snagged on a reef before dawn Wednesday and it sank within minutes.

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