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Close Call For Nsw Fisherman Saved By Bucket


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Close call for NSW fisherman Joe McArdle saved by bucket

A PLASTIC bucket and a bucketload of stamina were all that saved Joe McArdle from an almost certain tragedy yesterday.

The 43-year-old was fishing with four mates off a 7m rock shelf near Forster on the Mid-North Coast of New South Wales early yesterday morning when a wave hit the group and swept Mr McArdle out to sea.

"I saw it coming in and we all ran as high as we could but there was nothing to hold on to," he said.

"It hit me and I went right in. I thought I was gone."

It was the first time he had been rock fishing since moving to Australia from Scotland two years ago and he was ill-equipped for the task.

Weighed down by heavy clothing and even heavier steel-capped boots, Mr McArdle struggled to stay afloat as wave after waves pummelled him.

Quick-thinking mates Troy Twyford and Ricky Martens tossed a large white bucket out to their stricken friend to use for flotation but the swell was so rough he was unable to hold on.

"They're shouting at me: 'Joe, try to swim in' but I couldn't - the swell was too big."

Mr Martens tied a length of rope to the group's last bucket and hurled it towards Mr McArdle in a final, desperate attempt to save his friend.

"I was trying to get to this bucket but I kept thinking, 'I'm not going to make it'," Mr McArdle said.

"I said: 'Rick, I can't grab it, I've had enough' and I started going down.

"But he started shouting at me, 'You've got to get it' and so I took two last strokes and that's when I made it."

As Mr McArdle clung to the bucket, his friends called triple-0.

Emergency services contacted the Pacific Palms Surf Life Saving Club, which scrambled a rescue jetski.

After more than 40 minutes in the water, Mr McArdle was rescued and taken to hospital with hypothermia and cuts to his hand and arms.

Surf Life Saving NSW branch director Julie Wilcox said the incident highlighted the dangers of rock fishing.

Five rock fishermen have drowned in NSW since September.

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A very lucky man indeed.

Why anyone would go rock fishing in a 4 mtr swell has me stuffed. :wacko:

Hopefully they've all learnt the lesson that no fish is worth your life.



why would anyone go rock fishing in heavy clothing and steel cap boots???????

not to mention 4mtr swell - crazy stuff! that was a disaster waiting to happen!

NO fish is worth your life!

Edited by tide'n'knots
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  • 2 weeks later...

port kembla is relatively safe, the break water way with the light on that is, cant get swept off there :/ and when its swelling, and heaps windy

ur not gonna catch anything mate

pack up ur bags, go home and enjoy a few vbs

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This event was at a well known LBG ledge. It was crazy to go for a fish in that swell and that direction. But anyone that fishes these min north ledges knows that steel caps are a good choice of footwear. Alot of the ledges are high and directly above deep water and pretty fishable in some good swell. However his experienced friends should have known better.

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That bloke was just soooo lucky to survive. It could so easily have been yet another drowning.

I was just looking for an old copy of a Saltwater Fishing magazine which has a very descriptive incident whereby 3 young blokes were excited about going rock fishing. WIthin the space of 1/2hr, one was dead, one was permanently incapacitated (whole arm rendered useless) and the other physically OK but emotionally & physcologically scarred for life.

It has totally changed my outlook on Rock Fishing & I rarely go at all these days,(let alone on my own) unless I am positive it is as safe as it can be, & never in 'bad conditions' with big swells coming directly towards you.

If I can find the article, I will scan it & make it available to anyone who wishes to read it.

It is a very sobering report

Cheers & keep safe out there


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