Man dies in Queensland boating accident

Robyn Wuth |

One man has died while a father and daughter clung to an esky to stay afloat after a boat capsized off Brisbane’s Moreton Bay. 

The trio were on a fishing trip just off Cleveland when their boat, a 4.6m runabout, started taking on water on Wednesday morning. 

After failing to raise the alarm, Richard Clayton was forced to swim to shore with his daughter, but his friend didn’t survive. 

“We were out crabbing, just enjoying the day, beautiful day, and we decided to come back in,” Mr Clayton told Nine’s Today show on Thursday. 

“All of a sudden water started coming on the boat … it just happened so quickly. It was like 10 seconds, it was all over, and we were in the water.”

He said he tried to raise the alarm with passing ferries.

“I was actually sitting on the bow of the boat so people could see us,” Mr Clayton said. 

“A couple of ferries from Cleveland … were going out. We were waving our hands and singing out, but obviously no one saw us.”

He said his friend was holding on to the back of the boat when he slipped away. 

“He started drifting off, and I … started to go as well. Unfortunately, I lost him in tragic circumstances,” Mr Clayton said.

The alarm was raised by a member of the public before Mr Clayton and his daughter started to swim to shore in the murky water. 

“It was pretty hard. She deserves a medal. It was Moreton Bay, it’s full of sharks,” Mr Clayton said.

“You’re in the water, you’re trying to get to safety, and everything’s going through your mind.”

He said he was still in shock over the loss of a mate. 

“It’s just a hard time but, yeah, especially coming into Christmas,” Mr Clayton said.

 Police will prepare a report for the coroner.