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CareFlight helps rescue sailors from overturned cat

The Sunshine Coast RACQ CareFlight Rescue helicopter has played a pivotal role in locating an upturned catamaran on Wide Bay Bar, just south of Fraser Island, and the rescue of two people on board overnight.

At 11.20pm Thursday evening, the Maroochydore-based rescue helicopter was tasked to respond to a EPIRB emergency beacon that had been set off after the vessel ran into trouble.

After arriving in the vicinity of the signal’s origin, the CareFlight crew was able to locate the 12-metre catamaran, which had overturned in breaking waves on the eastern side of the Wide Bay Bar.

The two occupants of the craft were found atop the upturned vessel.

The CareFlight helicopter performed overwatch duties while coordinating with a local Coastguard watercraft, which was able to safely collect the stranded sailors.

CareFlight Aircrew Officer Dan Leggat said that the mission was particularly well executed thanks to one piece of essential equipment.

“I think the defining aspect of this successful mission was the use of Night Vision Goggles (NVGs),” said Dan.

“Using our on-board NVGs we were able to detected the faint flicker of the small lights attached the personal floatation devices that the sailors were wearing.”

“Those lights, however faint, were actually one of the first things we saw – which made finding the vessel all the more easier.”

“I think, without the use of NVGs, the mission would have been incredibly more difficult.”

The CareFlight helicopter returned to base at 1.45am.