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'we Heard Tapping From Inside The Hull'


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'We heard tapping from inside the hull'

A man rescued from his capsized fishing boat on Port Phillip Bay after spending more than 40 minutes trapped in the hull is "extremely lucky" to be alive, according to a rescue diver.

Victoria Police said the boat with two men onboard capsized about 6pm yesterday about two nautical miles off Frankston pier.

One of the men was rescued by people on board another recreational vessel, but the other man was trapped in the hull of the overturned boat for at least 40 minutes.

Volunteer Mornington Rescue diver Bob Chase said rescuers were on the scene within 15 to 20 minutes.

"Obviously it was an urgent situation and when we arrived we could hear tapping from inside the hull, so we knew the gentlemen was still alive but trapped inside,'' Mr Chase said.

"This guy was extremely lucky to get out in the end and it was one of those things that you hope you don't attend too often - it's quite rare and very, very scary to be there.

"I was in the water for about 25 minutes and it was getting pretty cold and as the guy tapped on the hull all I could really do was tap back and keep shouting, letting him know that ... we'd get him out."

Mr Chase said the rescue was particularly difficult due to the cold water and the amount of equipment in the upturned boat.

"We put our first swimmer in the water and the water was pretty cold and he cramped up so then I went in and it was just too difficult," he said.

"With all the gear that was floating around and all the gear in the boat, the angle of the vessel was at least 45 degrees, with just the nose pointing up in the water, there was just a small portion of the nose pointing out so it made it quite difficult to get down and get up to him and to get out was another story because he was obviously very distressed at this stage.

"There was so much hanging off, the boat was covered in ropes, there was cushions and Eskies and fishing gear and he'd crawled right up in the very nose of the half cab and the poor gentleman was very, very distressed and he wasn't going to come out and it was very, very hard to get in there.''

Both men were treated in the emergency department of the Frankston Hospital, suffering mild hypothermia and a hospital spokeswoman said both men had been discharged about midnight.

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