Iluka trawler rams Evans fishing boat


ANCHORED at sea about 10km off Evans Head early yesterday, Mick Endres did not see the trawler bearing down on his eight-metre, open-deck, aluminium boat until it was about 45 metres away.

With little time to do anything else, he screamed at his mate Shaun McLean to wake up, and watched in horror as The Saint, a 20-metre prawn trawler from Iluka, head straight towards them.

"We hit head on, we were that far off dead centre," Mick said, indicating the distance of just seven centimetres with his thumb and index finger.

"The trawler pushed us back, the back end went under, the boat filled with water and eventually flipped."

The two men stayed on the boat until they knew it was about to go under, then they, too, were in the water.

Clinging to a life ring and an esky lid, Mick and Shaun were in the water for about 10 minutes before The Saint rescued them.

"I wasn't concerned about drown- ing, but I was a bit worried about sharks," said Shaun, who had gone out with Mick for a night's fishing.

"Especially since all the fish we caught were floating around us and sharks are always following the trawlers."

The upturned boat was towed back into Evans Head by local fisherman Peter McHunter and his trawler The Piper J after the Evans Head Coast Guard, unable to get to sea because of engine trouble, sent out a call for help.

A veteran of numerous rescues, Mr McHunter, who had had engine trouble himself earlier in the night, did not hesitate to offer help.

"It's just what you do, everyone has got to look out for each other out there," he said after towing the upturned boat over the often-treacherous Evans Head bar.

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