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.
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.
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.
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