RACQ CQ Rescue airlifted four people to Mackay Base Hospital last night after a yacht smashed into rocks on Keswick Island, 30km offshore from Mackay.
RACQ CQ Rescue airlifted four people to Mackay Base Hospital last night after a yacht smashed into rocks on Keswick Island, 30km offshore from Mackay. RACQ CQ Rescue

Yacht smashes into rocks, group rescued from island

FOUR people have been rescued from a rock face at Keswick Island, including a man suffering from hypothermia, after their yacht smashed into rocks last night.

RACQ CQ Rescue had been sent to a hospital transfer in Ayr when the rescue chopper was diverted to the scene at Keswick Island, 30 offshore from Mackay, about 10pm.

Two people believed to be the owners of the vessel, a 53-year-old man and a 50-year-old Slade Point man, had been aboard the charter yacht with a 43-year-old man and 42-year-old woman on holidays from the Gold Coast, the rescue service stated.

The boat was headed towards St Bees Island when it ran aground on rocks.

Managing to escape the single hull yacht as it slowly descended under the surface of the water, the four people clambered onto a rock face on the island and phoned for help.

RACQ CQ Rescue crewman Arno Schoonwinkel said the helicopter crew made phone contact with one of the tourists on their way to the island.

RACQ CQ Rescue airlifted four people to Mackay Base Hospital last night after a yacht smashed into rocks on Keswick Island, 30km offshore from Mackay.
RACQ CQ Rescue airlifted four people to Mackay Base Hospital last night after a yacht smashed into rocks on Keswick Island, 30km offshore from Mackay. RACQ CQ Rescue

Preparations were made in moderate winds to conduct a winch rescue of the four people.

A critical care paramedic was on board the chopper to treat those who were injured.

On arrival at the scene about 30 minutes later, the vessel appeared to be half sunk, Mr Schoonwinkel said.

Volunteer Marine Rescue Mackay, who had also arrived at the island, were able to retrieve the four people by small boat and transfer them to the airstrip on the island where the rescue helicopter landed.

All four people were transported to Mackay Base Hospital, arriving at midnight.

One man was suffering from hypothermia and cuts to his hands, while the other three people were described as distressed but uninjured.

The RACQ CQ Rescue chopper returned to base at Mackay Airport at 12.30am.