Kids watched on as men found dead off coast

 

Two men have died after a fishing boat capsized off the Brisbane coast this afternoon.

Emergency services were alerted to the incident between North Stradbroke Island and Green Island near Manly Boat Harbour about 1.40pm Wednesday.

The two men, including a 70-year-old Alexandra Hills man, died.

Police at the scene of a capsized boat off the coast of Manly. Picture: 7 News
Police at the scene of a capsized boat off the coast of Manly. Picture: 7 News

It is believed they were out fishing when their 4.5m dinghy capsized in strong winds.

One of the men was clinging to the capsized boat when he pulled from the water by crew of a passing tourist boat.

That boat alerted authorities.

Queensland Police return to shore with one of the men's bodies. Picture: Brayden Heslehurst
Queensland Police return to shore with one of the men's bodies. Picture: Brayden Heslehurst

 

One of the men died at the scene while the other was flown in a critical condition to Princess Alexandra Hospital where he has since died.

Insp Candale said emergency services were continuing to search the area but believed it was only the two men on board.

The vessel, named South Passage, offers school excursions on the water to teach kids how to sail.

The students are thought to have been on day two of a three day voyage when the incident happened.

A mother of a school student on board the South Passage said the children "witnessed everything".

"I know the school is already in the process of getting them all some type of counselling from what I was told all the kids witnessed everything," she said on Facebook.

"Not something any kid will find easy to forget ever.. for most of them it was their first time sailing too."

The children were from multiple schools and formed part of a broader Flexible Learning Centre.

Moreton Bay fishing expert Spero Kartanos, who goes out almost every day in the area where today's incident occurred, said it was too windy to even think about fishing.

"It was about 35 knots out there, which is way too windy, especially for a small boat," he said.

"When it's about 25 knots out there it's too windy.

"The hard thing is sometime the forecast is wrong, and you can't see the choppy waves from the harbour so people just go out."

Mr Kartanos said the death of two fishermen was devastating, but said it happened all too frequently.

"It makes your gut churn, hearing this news," he said.

"All fishermen are mates basically, we all say g'day when we pass each other, so days like this are devastating.

"Unfortunately we all have had days like this and I just feel for the family and friends of those found."

The recovered boat has been taken by the Brisbane Coast Guard into the Brisbane Water Police base at White Island.

The South Passage sailboat is a is a 30.5 metre, gaff-rigged schooner that was launched in Brisbane in 1993.

The South Passage - Adventure Under Sail' program was designed for 14 to 17-year-olds and has taken more than 50,000 students sailing since its inception.

Everything on the boat is done manually, including the sails being raised and lowered by hand, with all passengers expected to pitch in to work together as team.

Originally published as Two men dead after boat capsizes


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