Two rescued, one missing in Queensland fishing incident

Robyn Wuth and Fraser Barton |

Two men have been rescued and another is missing after a boat capsized about 150 kilometres off the coast of Mackay in central Queensland.

The three boaties, all experienced fishermen, sent out an emergency alert at Creal Reef about 8.15pm on Thursday.

It took police vessels between five and six hours to reach the area but visibility was poor.

At 5.55am on Friday, a jet spotted one man and he was rescued before being airlifted to Mackay Base Hospital, Queensland Police said.

Just over five hours later, a second man was spotted and also airlifted to the hospital.

Police are still searching for a 41-year-old man, who is the brother of the first boatie rescued on Friday.

A rescue helicopter had spotted a man clinging to the hull of an overturned vessel on Thursday night before losing sight of him.

“Once they got in closer, for some unknown reason, the man has become detached from the vessel,” Senior Constable Syrrell Howard said.

“They tried to reposition their aircraft but we’re unable to see him again.

“There were no surface vessels in the area at the time, so there was no ability to provide him with any support or to rescue him.”

Police are unsure what exactly caused the vessel to capsize but are not giving up on finding the missing man.

“We will continue to search until there’s been a determination by health experts that there is limited or no chance of anyone being recovered alive,” Sen Const Howard said.