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Missing fishermen prayed for night s end
Rescued Fisherman Derek Fayers, 78, and Les Brockway, 72, outside Fremantle Hospital. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian

Two of the three fishermen who spent a night in the ocean after their fishing boat sank south of Perth have told how they prayed for sunlight while waiting for rescue.

Boat captain Derrick Fayers, 78, and Les Brockway, 72, spent more than 15 hours in the ocean before a helicopter spotted them near Stragglers Reef yesterday morning.

The fishing buddies recounted their ordeal outside Fremantle Hospital this morning after being discharged.

The third man, Anthony Solomons, was released from hospital last night.

“I’m a retired minister of the Uniting Church and so I said a prayer … just like St Paul in the Mediterranean when he had a shipwreck and prayed for the night to end,” Mr Brockway said.

“We prayed for the night to end, for the sun to come up and … somebody getting to hear about the emergency.”

Mr Fayers said he had no time to activate the vessel’s EPIRB or fire the flare gun, both located in a lower cabin, as the vessel took on water 2km off Carnac Island.

The five-metre-long boat, with two large motors, was bought from South Africa three months ago, with Mr Fayers told it was “unsinkable”.

But during the fishing excursion it took in water and flipped

Mr Brockway said he was shocked at how quickly the boat had sunk.

Rescuers reached the trio in the water. Picture: SLSWA

The trio tied themselves together and managed to cling to the tip of the boat for two hours until strong winds made it impossible.

“We thought ‘we’re not going to cope with this all night’ so we will swim,” Mr Brockway said.

"We swam for about two hours toward Carnac Island, we got within about 400m and the current and the southerly winds were just too strong we couldn’t cope.

Picture; SLSWA

“It was (frustrating). We just said to ourselves ‘we’ll just have to float, let it go, we’re together, we’ll just drift’.

Mr Fayers said the danger of sharks was never far from his mind but he refused to speak about it.

“I didn’t want to mention it to my mates,” he said.

The men were full of praise for the “exceptional” work of police, emergency services and hospital staff.