Stranded couple writes 'HELP' in sand after shipwreck

It's the sort of thing you might see in a TV show or disaster film - the word 'HELP' scrawled in huge letters on the sand as a hapless couple find themselves shipwrecked.

But that's exactly what happened to a Queensland couple who found themselves stranded on an uninhabited island overnight after a freak storm smashed their five-metre fishing boat into rocks.

The Clairview couple had headed off for a few days of fishing and camping around the Percy islands, but things didn't quite go according to plan.

As weather conditions deteriorated on Tuesday night, they anchored in low water at Avoid Island, approximately 100km south of Mackay, hoping the bad weather would go away.

A freak storm smashed a Queensland couple's boat into rocks on Avoid Island. Source: RACQ CQ Rescue
A freak storm smashed a Queensland couple's boat into rocks on Avoid Island. Source: RACQ CQ Rescue

But a huge storm then caused massive five metre waves to smash their boat into the rocks nearby.

With the boat too damaged to move, the pair sought shelter amongst the island's mudflats, activating an emergency beacon at first light and scrawling HELP in huge letters on the island shore.

The couple scrawled the word HELP into sand and set off their emergency beacon. Source: RACQ CQ Rescue
The couple scrawled the word HELP into sand and set off their emergency beacon. Source: RACQ CQ Rescue

RACQ CQ Rescue picked the beacon up at 10am Wednesday morning and found the distressed couple frantically waving at their helicopter crew.

The pair had waited until the weather had cleared and they were sure the island was uninhabited before setting off their beacon, The Daily Mercury reports.

Avoid Island is part of the Percy group off islands, located approximately 100km south of Mackay. Source: Google Maps
Avoid Island is part of the Percy group off islands, located approximately 100km south of Mackay. Source: Google Maps

With a few cuts and bruises but otherwise uninjured, the couple then had to walk a kilometre to the island's airstrip, where the rescue helicopter was able to land.

Mackay police then took them straight to their Clairview home - no doubt very tired, very hungry, and with a great story to tell the grandchildren.

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