Mike Burrows and Dave Anderton, who had launched their boat from Mindarie on Saturday, May 25, were left in the water for about two and a half hours and were only rescued when another vessel happened to find them.
Having activated an emergency beacon, the men were able to alert authorities they were in distress but the signal was soon lost after the EPIRB sank with the boat, as did the flares.
Whitfords Volunteer Sea Rescue Group commander Mark Carruthers said they continued to search about 7km off the coast but were advised about 10.30am the men had been picked up by another vessel about 45km off the coast.
‘Conditions were not ideal and to be honest, given the size of the vessel (about 5.6m), I wouldn’t have gone that far out,’ he said.
Mr Carruthers said he believed the men had been picked up to the west of Ocean Reef.
He said they took the rescue boat out to meet the other vessel and brought the men back to Mindarie. ‘They were in very good condition but they did go into a little bit of shock towards the end when we were getting close to Mindarie, realising how lucky they were after being in the water for two and a half hours,’ he said.
‘They were just very lucky that there was another vessel out there, otherwise we would have had two more deaths on our coastline ” no one would have found them.’
Mr Carruthers said it was important to let someone know where you were going before heading out on the ocean.
‘If we had known where they were going, we would have had some idea of where to search,’ he said.
He said people could also log on with the WVSRG.
‘We have a procedure in place that if a vessel has logged on and has not returned within 15 minutes of the return time, we start calling them and within half an hour we will start searching for them,’ he said.
‘At least if we know where they’ve gone, we can get an idea of where to look.’