A MAN has been winched to safety by a rescue chopper early on Sunday morning after his boat sank off the coast of Fraser Island.

An RACQ CareFlight Rescue spokeswoman said the Bundaberg crew performed a daring winch rescue over open water.

She said the 60-year-old man was fishing when the 7.3m vessel began taking on water.

"The boat is believed to have sunk sometime between 4am and 5am," the spokeswoman said.

RACQ CareFlight Rescue was called into the search and rescue operation about 5.30am after a beacon signal was activated.

She said the man was spotted by the helicopter service, wearing a life jacket, about 15-20km off the western point of Fraser Island.

RACQ CareFlight Rescue's aircrewman was winched down to the man, before he was safely winched aboard the helicopter.

The spokeswoman said he suffered suspected hypothermia and was airlifted to Hervey Bay Hospital in a stable condition.


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