NT fishermen stranded in crocodile-infested river wait days before setting off emergency beacon
Two days after their boat ran out of fuel, a group of Northern Territory fishermen finally decided to call for help from a crocodile-infested river.
- Three boaties were on the South Alligator River when they ran out of fuel
- They hoped to seek help from other boaties, but for two days none went passed
- They were rescued today by CareFlight and the NT Water Police
Matthew Auld, the CareFlight NT flight nurse that went to look for them, explained the trio would have preferred to “get themselves out of trouble” so refrained from using their radio beacon until the onset of dehydration became too much.
They were located by CareFlight at about 1:00pm on Wednesday, on the South Alligator River in Arnhem Land.
“I’ve come across this before myself as a boatie and you don’t want to set off the EPIRB unless you really have to,” Mr Auld explained.
“I guess they were trying to be responsible and get themselves out of trouble, hoping another boatie would help them out.
“And they kind of got to the point where they were running out of water and food and they hadn’t seen anyone in a couple of days so they decided to turn on their EPIRB.”
He said the men were “in good spirits” apart from being dehydrated.
Asked if they had seen many crocodiles during their 48 hour wait, Mr Auld said “I don’t know but I imagine they probably would have in that river”.
After finding them, CareFlight provided water for the boaties.
NT Water Police then towed them to the South Alligator boat ramp.
Mr Auld said the incident should prompt others to ensure they checked their boats, had enough fuel and a plan before heading out on the water.
“It’s a timely reminder coming into the run-off fishing season to check your boat’s EPIRB and safety equipment is up to date,” he said.
While you’re here… are you feeling curious?