The east coast of Australia is being lashed by wild storms causing widespread flooding and creating havoc for shipping.
GV Police launch in rough seas of Sydney, heads towards floundering craft. (2 SHOTS)
GV Distress yacht with skipper Malcolm Dickson. (2 SHOTS)
GV & ZOOM Yacht with front sails hanging in the water. (2 SHOTS)
GV Huge wave engulfs yacht, but skipper gets back on board. (2 SHOTS)
GV Rescue boat rides over tough waves.
GV Wave engulfs rescue boat. (2 SHOTS)
SV Men from rescue boat cling to their craft.
GV Rescue helicopter. Helicopter hits boat, and rescue boat crewman clings to helicopter's skid.
SV Rescue boat skipper (rescue boat.)
DAVENPORT: "The police launch, G.J. Olive, had to battle stormy weather as well as massive breakers to reach the floundering craft. Visibility was so poor at one stage that the launch went straight past the lee. Skipper, Malcolm Dickson from the Sydney suburb of Randwick sent out an S.O.S. but the signal was so faint that both Water Police and the coast Guard had difficulty pinpointing the craft's position. Actually, it was drifting helplessly through the treacherous sandbanks near the northeast channel off the Northwest of the island. The yacht's front sail had been ripped to shreds and it bobbed precariously through the foaming sea. Dickson tried desperately to see some sort of course but in the end his efforts were in vain. A series of three huge waves charged towards the sloop as Dickson's companion, Cyril Manton, also from Randwick, and his two year old daughter, Lee, huddled below the deck. Then came an enormous wave. It moved in and descended on the yacht like a sledge hammer.
With the past smashed across the deck the skipper who was thrown overboard fought desperately to get back onboard.
The 'Shark Cat' was caught in a trough between the crest of the waves and attempted to ride over them. Then the inevitable. With the two crewmen, Burn Butler and Colin Ward, clinging to the upturned boat, the pilot of the Wales rescue helicopter, Tom Ward, endeavoured to lift the two men off. After several tries there was an anxious moment as the skid touched the boat and Ward was left clutching the skid as the pilot powered his chopper back into the air.
The Wales' crew took the two men to Bribie Island where they were reported to be OK, apart from some bad scrapes and bruises.
REPORTER: TONY DAVENPORT
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The east coast of Australia is being lashed by wild storms causing widespread flooding and creating havoc for shipping. Rescue services along the coast have been kept busy answering distress calls from the owners of small craft. In a dramatic helicopter rescue at Long Reef off Sydney a crew member of a grounded nine metre (about 9 yards) yacht was plucked from the storm-tossed waters after falling overboard while waiting to be winched to safety. This report from Tony Davenport.