Seven-year-old wakes from coma after spending six hours in freezing ocean

The seven-year-old who survived six hours at sea after his father’s boat capsized has made a miraculous recovery.

Julian Hohnen was winched to safety about 2.30am on Sunday after the boat sank, pitching him, his father and another man into the sea off Caloundra.

Elimbah truck driver Maike Hohnen, 38, his young son and family friend Stephen Jeacocke, 48, spent six long, dark hours in the water.

Julian was placed in an induced coma following his rescue, but miraculously opened his eyes on Monday and has since been chatting with loved ones.

His chances of survival initially seemed bleak, with him suffering hypothermia and his condition being classified as critical.

His mother, Susan, shared a photo of her son in his hospital bed to Facebook on Monday, thanking people for their support and revealing his miracle recovery.

“I would like to say thank you to everyone for their love, support and prayers for my son Julian Hohnen. He is recovering well,” she wrote in her post.

Photo of Julian Hohnen who has made a miraculous recovery after suffering hypothermia when his dad's boat capsized.
Maike Hohnen and Stephen Jeacocke also suffered hypothermia after the boat capsized. Source: Facebook/Maike Julian Hohnen

Julian’s parents also issued a statement expressing their gratitude to the emergency crews responsible for saving the trio’s lives.

“Our son has improved significantly today and is now in a stable condition and talking to us. This is a testament to his fighting spirit,” they wrote.

“We would like to thank everyone who has helped and cared for our son, including the amazing emergency ­services, the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and the Queensland Children’s ­Hospital.

“He still requires ­further assessment, but his improvement today has given us hope.”

The men, who also suffered hypothermia, took turns to keep Julian afloat while clinging to debris from the vessel.

A major rescue operation was launched before dawn on Sunday. A distress call was made by the 5.2-metre vessel after it started taking on water 14km off the coast.

The crew of an anchored tanker spotted the trio and helped guide authorities to their location.

Photo of Julian Hohnen, 7, who shivered through six hours in the ocean after his dad's boat sunk.
Julian Hohnen, 7, shivered through six hours in the ocean after his dad's boat sunk. Source: Facebook/Maike Julian Hohnen

The boy was winched into a helicopter and taken to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital before being taken to Brisbane for treatment.

Mr Hohnen and Mr Jeacocke were rescued by water police and have been released from hospital.

Paramedics said help arrived just in time, but that the boy's helicopter rescue could have made his condition worse.

"They were all very lucky," Queensland Ambulance Service supervisor Kristy MacAlister said.

"It's always a delicate operation when you're winching a patient that's potentially suffering from hypothermia because as you winch them out of the water the wind temperature can also decrease the body temperature further."

On social media Mr Hohnen described himself as the luckiest man alive prior to the incident.

"I've got a beautiful son, who puts a smile on my face every day," he wrote.

-With AAP

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