5 Jan 2017

NZer left floating in ocean for six hours after fishing mishap

8:18 am on 5 January 2017

A New Zealander fishing off North West Cape in Western Australia survived six hours floating in the sea after his attempts to release a huge Marlin went wrong.

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Photo: 123rf.com

Ross Chapman was treated at Exmouth Hospital for hypothermia and shock after he was found floating in the water.

Rusty Ellis, the commander of the Exmouth Volunteer Marine Rescue Group, said Mr Chapman was trying to take a photo of his catch as he was releasing it, when his camera fell into the water.

"His camera fell over the side as he was releasing the fish, and he tried to grab the camera and fell in the water, and his boat, because it was in idle, motored away form where he was, and left him there. I think he'd be that lucky that he'd be buying the newsagent out of all the lotto tickets they've got."

Another fisherman spotted Mr Chapman's boat travelling at speed without a driver and alerted authorities.

He was found by a passing charter boat about six hours after falling overboard.

Mr Chapman has since been discharged from hospital.

Fellow fishermen 'saw hand wave' in water

The captain of the charter boat which found Mr Chapman, Brendon Hawker, said the fisherman was exhausted from the ordeal and "didn't really say too much" after he was rescued.

"We were out looking for marlin ourselves and we'd heard Ross had gone overboard [so] we cut our fish off and raced up the coast to assist with the search," he said.

"We spotted him in the water. We just saw his hand wave, then he went behind a wave and then we went over to him."

Ms Gates visited Mr Chapman in hospital last night and said he was grateful for the work done to find him.

"He could see other boats in the water, unfortunately he just couldn't get there," she said.

"He was getting a bit disheartened. Finally a larger vessel came quite close to him and got him.

"He was very tired and sunburnt and I don't think he'll be fishing on his own again."