Divers saved by cruise ship at Wilsons Prom after boat trouble

A man and woman whose boat ran out of fuel have spent a night on-board a luxury cruise ship after a dramatic late-night rescue.

The two passengers, a 58-year-old man from Indented Head and a 29-year-old woman from Newport, were both chartered divers.

Their 8.5m twin hull outboard ran into trouble off Wilsons Promontory/Yiruk and Wamoon in the Victorian National Park after its engines failed amid “strong conditions”.

Forced to abandon their boat, the pair got into a dinghy and deployed an emergency beacon just off Skull Rock at about 10pm on Monday.

Police Air Wing was able to locate the duo at around midnight, alerting the joint rescue co-ordination centre (JRCC), which was able to contact a nearby cruise ship.

Camera IconThe pair abandoned their vessel just off Skull Rock. Visit Victoria Credit: Supplied

Police Air Wing Inspector Kelly Walker said strong conditions led the duo to “expend a lot of extra fuel that they didn’t anticipate to utilise”.

The divers had left from Queenscliff at about 10am and travelled around 135km to Port Albert.

“One of their engines failed and started to take on water,” Inspector Walker said.

After the second engine failed the pair activated their EPRB, alerting the JRCC in Canberra.

When an EPRB is activated the JRCC looks to find the closest asset able to assist, and although uncommon, it was in this case a cruise ship travelling through Bass Strait.

“We attended at night and it was very strong conditions, so it was safer for us that we had a rescue vessel coming from the cruise ship,” Inspector Walker said.

The cruise ship was “willing and able to assist”, deploying a rescue craft.

A rescue raft deployed from a nearby cruise ship took the pair aboard. Picture: Victoria Police.
Camera IconA rescue raft deployed from a nearby cruise ship took the pair aboard. Victoria Police Credit: Supplied

While one of the passengers briefly fell overboard during the transition, they were both uninjured and were taken to enjoy the hospitality and medical attention on-board the ship.

“They were given a cabin for the night … which really helped them in their recovery, and they were very grateful,” Inspector Walker said.

“They met the captain and expressed their gratitude – I think the hospitality was very welcoming.”

The cruise ship has since docked and the pair are both recovering at home, while their boat will be a “commercial salvage”.

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