Child spotted clinging to esky after boat sinks off coast

An 11-year-old child was one of four people rescued from rough seas on Saturday after their boat sank off the coast of Queensland, leaving them stranded in the ocean.

The group were spotted clinging to an esky off Woppa-Great Keppel Island, 15 kilometres from the coast off Yeppoon, prompting a dramatic rescue from the RACQ CapRescue.

The rescue took place at around 9.30am, shortly after RACQ received the call from Queensland Police Service. Jim Warren, Flotilla Commander for the Yeppoon Coast Guard, said the group had a mobile phone with them, even after sinking, and were able to use it to call for help, the ABC reported.

Four people rescued in waters off Queensland coast hanging on to esky.
Rescue crews spotted the esky floating in teh water before realised four people were clinging on to it. Source: RACQCaprescue

He said the wind was blowing between 20 and 25 knots and it was "pretty hard to see anybody". But the phone was being held in the air allowing aircrews to locate them.

Garth Snaidero, Rescue Crew Officer with the Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service, said his crew spotted the esky in the water, so they flew towards it. It was only then "we saw there were four people hanging onto the esky," he said.

Video footage shared with Yahoo News Australia shows a rescue crew member climbing down a safety rope into the water from the helicopter overhead. The 11-year-old girl and a woman in her early 30s were brought to safety and transported to Keppel Island for further assessment.

The two remaining males were retrieved by a boat from Great Keppel Dive. They were taken by the Coast Guard to Rosslyn Bay in Yeppoon, RACQ CapRescue confirmed.

Rescue mission praised

It's understood Queensland police coordinated with the rescue which has since been praised on Facebook. A photo was shared on RACQ CapRescue's Facebook page showing three of the rescued with a paramedic and two rescue officers.

"Great job from a great team," one commented. "Thank you for your great work in rescuing these precious people, our world would be devastatingly empty without them," shared another.

Paramedic and RACQ team with survivors.
Part of the rescue team with three of the survivors: Source: RACQCapRescue

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