A family whose boat capsized in rough winds off the Brisbane coast has told of their miraculous rescue, thanks to the quick thinking of their teenage daughter.
When a strong gust of wind caused their trimaran to flip, the Graham family were tipped overboard and trapped under the hull.
“This bolt of wind came out without any warning,” dad Ken Graham told 9NEWS of yesterday’s disaster.
Teenager daughter Alice described how “everything started tilting… within about two seconds, the boat had flipped.”
Ken, Alice, her sister Jade and Jade’s boyfriend were left far from aid, treading water in cold seas – but Alice had clung on to her mobile phone, giving the family a lifeline.
“I kind of thought to myself, ‘it’s waterproof, I’ll need it’ and just held on to it,” she explained.
She tried calling ‘000’ but didn’t have enough reception to get through, so instead sent her mum a text message.
“I said where we were and then said we capsized, call ‘000’ if you get this,” Alice said.
Water Police and the Brisbane Coast Guard started up a search, but finding the family in open water remained a challenge.
More than one hour later – just as mild hypothermia was starting to set in – they were found.
They had drifted about ten nautical miles from where the boat is believed to have capsized.
Brisbane Coast Guard’s Paul Burchall, who helped in the rescue, told 9NEWS that it “could have been a very different story” if Alice hadn’t managed to hold on to her mobile phone.
“If the young daughter hadn’t held on to her mobile phone, it could have been a different story… it could have been a tragedy,” he told 9NEWS.
Mum Linda, who alerted the authorities after receiving her daughter’s text, said she’d had “no inkling” anything was wrong until she saw her daughter’s text message.
“It was a good thing she was on her phone, for once,” she joked.