Rescued crew on way to mainland

These are the first pictures to emerge of the sunken Bell Cay which struck trouble early this morning.
These are the first pictures to emerge of the sunken Bell Cay which struck trouble early this morning. Maritime Safety Queensland

THE 21 people rescued from fishing charter boat Bell Cay are returning to Yeppoon.

They were transferred about 2.30pm from the first rescue vessel on scene, Impulse, to a Yeppoon Water Police boat which is bound for Rosslyn Bay.

This is the first picture released of Bell Cay which capsized this morning, about 200km north-east of Yeppoon.

A spokesman for the company that owns the boat that capsized off Swain Reefs says a severe storm caused the drama.

He said changing weather conditions, including winds up to 50 knots, had caused problems.

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The boat capsized about 4.30am.

 “We’re waiting for the authorities to let us know more about what’s happening,” the spokesman said.

“All the information to us at the moment is everyone has been accounted for and they are on their way back.

“Apparently the weather changed overnight and there are a couple of other boats in trouble out there at the moment.

“It was blowing 50-odd knots.”

He said those on board had left Rosslyn Bay on Sunday for a seven-day fishing charter.

The 80ft vessel is based out of Yeppoon.

Authorities say no other boats are in trouble.

A statement by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said Bell Cay activated two distress beacons after it ran into problems.

Nearby vessels also reported a mayday call over VHF radio.

The vessel appears to have run aground on a reef and capsized, the statement said.

Three nearby fishing vessels responded to the mayday call and reported all 21 passengers, including four crew and 17 passengers, were in a life raft.

Shortly after 8am, everyone was safely transferred to the fishing vessel Impulse, which is based out of Gladstone. All are reported to be in good health.

Impulse is going to a safe anchorage to await a Yeppoon Water Police vessel.

It is anticipated the passengers will be transferred to the water police vessel and transferred back to Yeppoon (a journey of around eight hours).


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