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Three Rescued During Horrendous Weather Conditions

Updated: May 31, 2022

At 0100 hrs (1.00 am) on the morning of Tuesday, 24 May 2022 the WA Water Police contacted our Group to advise that an EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon) had been activated.

Rescue 1 (Crikey) was deployed with Mike Cockburn and Chrissy Heu onboard. They battled over 4 metre swells and 20 knot winds (“without the aid of street lights” to quote Chrissy!!) to reach a stricken yacht. Three persons were successfully rescued after their yacht capsized.

Big thanks for the Air support and WA Water Police and our Radio operator Sharon Stiles - absolutely awesome!

Everyone returned safely back to the Jurien Bay Marina to be met by our Local Police, Sgt Kevin Bearcroft and two St John Ambulances.

Big thanks to our Skipper Mike Cockburn who did a brilliant job.

All Boaties please beware of a rogue red life raft and a 12mt cream yacht “DOLCI BELLA” Rego BT 645 unanchored travelling North from the Bay.

Please everyone check weather conditions and wear life jackets and have your Epirb and flares close by.

The above Facebook post from Chrissy at 0714 that same day was the first that the local and wider community was made aware of the incident. Since then, our Group has received numerous comments through social media, emails, phone calls, requests for media interviews and made page 20 of “The West Australian” on 25 May 2022 with the headlines ‘Crew was moments from disaster’. The following are a few of them:

“While the southern half of the State bunkered down last night as the weather raged, Marine Rescue Jurien Bay were out in the thick of it, battling 4m swells and up to 40 knot (75km/h) wind gusts to save three men whose yacht capsized in the dangerous seas.

It’s a credit to our two experienced Marine Rescue volunteers Commander Chrissy and Senior Rescue Skipper Mike who said it was some of the worst conditions they have faced during a call out. Their local knowledge, extensive training, and calmness under pressure resulted in saving the lives of the stricken sailors.

The three men onboard activated their EPIRB when trouble struck at 1am. Luckily they had a life raft, which two of them made it into, but only one was wearing a lifejacket. Unfortunately, they had also failed to check the weather forecast ahead of their voyage, missing the gale force wind warnings that had been in place since Saturday.

Please remember, when planning to set sail:

· Check the weather forecast ahead of hitting the water.

· Log on and off with your local Marine Rescue Group.

· Have a registered, working EPIRB.

· Make sure you have enough lifejackets for all passengers and wear them.”

Credit: Department of Fire and Emergency Services

“Three men have been rescued off Jurien Bay after their yacht capsized overnight during severe weather eight miles out to sea.

Jurien Bay Marine Rescue commander Chrissy Heu said the alarm was raised by a 1.30 am phone call from Water Police to say an emergency position indicating radio beacon, (EPIRB), had been activated north west of the area.

"We went out in atrocious conditions, over 4 metre swell and 20 knot winds and we successfully recovered three people," she said.

WA Police said the 11.5 metre boat had run out of fuel, capsized and then righted itself. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's rescue aircraft, based in Perth, located the vessel and a life raft nearby about 3am.

Ms Heu said when rescuers arrived, one person was still on the capsized yacht, while two others were in the life raft, one wearing a life jacket. "I don't think they realised there was a gale warning for today, and they were trying to make their way into Jurien for safe mooring," she said.

Ms Heu said after returning to shore, the three men were taken by ambulance to the local medical centre with suspected hypothermia.

She praised the efforts of rescue skipper Mike Cockburn in a very difficult rescue. "We had waves hitting us from both sides and front and behind," she said. Ms Heu said the yacht was unable to be secured, and she expected it would drift north.

She pleaded with people to check the weather before heading out to sea, and to carry adequate life jackets.”

Credit: ABC News Radio Interview

“Outstanding effort by Jurien Bay Marine Rescue overnight rescuing three people in severe weather off Jurien Bay. Please be aware a 9 metre yacht is adrift and may wash ashore in the morning in Jurien Bay - too dangerous to secure in those conditions.”

Credit: Jurien Bay Police on Twitter

Thanks to the public, the stricken yacht was located on the beach later that day, and the life raft has been recovered. A BIG THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE!!

A huge thank you to our Commander, Chrissy Heu, Senior Rescue Skipper, Mike Cockburn, Sharon Stiles, who manned the radios over the whole period, (no doubt in her pyjamas with the heater going!) meticulously recording all the messages, WA Water Police, AMSA (Air support), Jurien Bay Police, Jurien Bay St John Ambulance and our wonderful community and supporters who have sent so many messages of congratulations for this outstanding rescue.

A HUGE THANK YOU also to our Wayne Harston, (Deputy Commander), who assisted Chrissy with the mammoth cleaning of "Crikey" the following day.

Rescue 2 ("Bay Watch") safely recovered the "Dolci Bella" on 30 May.

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