/Indonesian fishermen saved after shipwreck off Australia; 9 missing | weather news

Indonesian fishermen saved after shipwreck off Australia; 9 missing | weather news

The group spent six days without food or water on a remote island where Cyclone Ilsa wrecked.

A group of 11 Indonesian fishermen from two boats caught in the path of Cyclone Isa have been rescued from a remote island in northwest Australia after six days without food or water, but nine other men are believed to have drowned at sea. .

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which rescued the fishermen on Monday night, said the group was recovering after being picked up off Bedwell Island, some 300 kilometers (200 miles) west of Australia. the Australian seaside resort town of Broome.

One of the boats, Express 1, ran aground with 10 men on board on April 12, AMSA said in a statement on Wednesday.

The other, Putri Jaya, sank in “extreme weather conditions” on April 11 or 12, the authority said, with nine crew members believed to have drowned. The only known survivor of Putri Jaya spent 30 hours in the water before coming ashore at Bedwell, a remote, exposed and inhospitable stretch of white sand with no natural shelter or freshwater sources.

The survivors, who had built a makeshift shelter out of the wreckage of their boat, were discovered on Monday by the Australian Border Force, who were on a routine aerial surveillance mission. A Broome-based rescue helicopter was deployed and lifted all 11 on board as the light began to fade.

The Indonesian fishing vessel Express 1 that ran aground on Bedwell Island during Cyclone Ilsa
Express 1 ran aground on Bedwell Island in heavy seas and strong winds [Australian Maritime Safety Authority via AFP]

Gordon Watt, manager of helicopter supplier PHI Aviation, said the rescue helicopter crew was unable to land on the sand.

“They had to carry out winch recoveries which in itself is a challenging task,” Watt told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). “The time of day meant that dusk was upon the crew during the rescue, so they had to transition to wearing night vision goggles.”

The survivors were taken to Broome Hospital, where authorities reported that they were in good health. They are expected to return to Indonesia when they have recovered.

Ilsa gained strength as it moved across the sea towards Australia and was a Category 5 cyclone when it crossed the southwest coast of Broome unleashing some of the strongest winds the country has ever recorded.

No deaths or injuries were reported from the storm in Australia.