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the Breeze

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Coondooroopa Drive resident Chris Wheeler was a witness to a sinking off the north western end of Macleay Island on Saturday, January 14.

A house boat got into difficulties and then sank after being pounded by waves and strong winds.

Chris Wheeler got to witness it all and just happened to have his handy Canon camera on hand to record the disaster.

Chris told The Friendly Bay Islander: "I live in a waterfront house at the top, or northern point of Macleay Island.

"This area is known as Potts Point amongst the locals and it is a favourite fishing spot with many small boats and motor cruisers visiting the Point daily for fishing.

He said Saturday January 14 was a very windy day with only a few small boats venturing into the Bay for fishing.

"As we looked over the Bay from our deck about 2pm on Saturday, we saw that this houseboat, with several people on board, was wallowing in the big waves and was clearly in trouble."

Fortunately, the people on board had obviously contacted the police boat and Coast Watch.

Chris said: "A police barge arrived (from Weinam Creek, Redland Bay) and offered assistance.

"The police took the captain and crew off, but remained in attendance. About twenty minutes later two police rescue boats arrived."

In the meantime, the house boat turned on its side and began to sink in the shallow waters of the bay.

Police boats hovered around the stricken vessel, which had now started to list badly.

They remained in attendance for about another hour as the houseboat was blown slowly towards Macleay Island on a falling tide. According to Chris Wheeler, the police barge then left.

At about 3.15pm the boat had drifted close to the shore just below the Wheeler home where it remained until later in the morning.

In the meantime, rescuers began working on the craft attaching flotation bags and eventually they towed the half submerged house boat towards Redland Bay.

This all occurred with Chris Wheeler clicking away with his Canon camera.

We thank him for his pictures and his observations.

• Pictures by Chris Wheeler of the singing.




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