Brilliant Way Stranded Storm Victims Got Themselves Rescued from Island after Mere 8 Hours


Australia is said to be one of the most adventurous places left in the world. The wild untamed outback and beautiful islands call out to explorers.

But unfortunately, accidents can happen. Adventures, or even a routine boating trip, have the potential to leave you beached and stuck on an island.

At 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 20, a freak storm hit off the coast of Queensland, near the Percy Islands.

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The Percy Islands are made up of a string of three separate islands. Two are deserted, and one has a national park — but all three are very difficult to get to.

An unnamed couple was out on a fishing trip when their dinghy wrecked near one of the islands.

The storm brought 5-meter high waves, which proved to be too much for their fishing dinghy. As they continued to be pummeled by the waves, they ended up smashing into the rocks.

The couple must have felt like they had just entered the first episode of the show Lost. They were completely isolated on an island, with no way of getting back to mainland Australia.

After escaping the rocks and carefully making their way to the beach in pitch black darkness, the couple set up makeshift camp and waited for dawn to come. In the morning, they had a plan to set in motion.

At first light, they carved “Help” in the biggest letters they could on the deserted beach. Thankfully, they also salvaged their emergency beacon when their dinghy wrecked, so they set that off as well.

RACQ CQ Rescue tweeted on Tuesday morning, “conducting a beacon search near Avoid Island.” RACQ is a nonprofit search and rescue organization relying completely on community donations in order to conduct their life saving missions.

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Later on that day the organization tweeted, “CQRescue has located two people who activated an EPIRB after becoming stranded on Avoid Island 100km south of Mackay when their dinghy was damaged.”

The rescue team also took to Facebook, writing, “RACQ CQ Rescue today airlifted two unlucky boaties who spent a very wet and uncomfortable night camped on a remote beach after their boat smashed into rocks in a freak storm.”

But after spending 8 harrowing hours on the island, the couple is no worse for wear.

Quinton Rethus, rescue air crewman for CQRescue, picked up the distress signal 20 kilometers from where they couple activated it. They had very little difficultly locating them after the signal was picked up due to their handmade sign in the sand.

If the couple had not been incredibly clever with their distress signal, it is very likely that they would have been stranded for quite a while.

It’s wonderful that they were rescued and this story ended happily. However, it’s somewhat disappointing that they didn’t have time to find a volley ball and name it Wilson.

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A proud reference librarian at San Diego Law Library, Havilah is a recent graduate from iSchool at San Jose State University with her master's in library and information science.
A proud reference librarian at San Diego Law Library, Havilah is a recent graduate from iSchool at San Jose State University with her master's in library and information science. She is passionate about writing and education, and most recently created content for the iStudent blog at SJSU. She is also on the board at SANDALL, a chapter of the American Association of Law Libraries, currently serving as secretary.