Two teenagers rescued three people and a dog off the Maroochy River bar after their boat rolled over (from left) Helen Grant, rescuer Connor Lane, Josh Back and Katie-Rose, rescuer Fraser Pappin and Connie Devine.
Two teenagers rescued three people and a dog off the Maroochy River bar after their boat rolled over (from left) Helen Grant, rescuer Connor Lane, Josh Back and Katie-Rose, rescuer Fraser Pappin and Connie Devine. Nicholas Falconer

Josh survives capsize, not parking cop

ONE bad day on the water cost Josh Back $12,000 in damage to his new boat, thousands of dollars in camera gear, a $1500 car key, and a parking ticket - but he still considers himself lucky.

Mr Back, 38, his fiancee Helen Grant, 40, and their friend, Connie Devine, 50, survived after their boat capsized on the Maroochy River bar on Sunday afternoon.

"At the end of the day, the boat's going to cost us money but we're all alive. The financial costs come and go but we're still alive," Mr Back said.

The six-metre Quintrex was flipped by a freak wave as Mr Back and the women were returning from a trip photographing whales.

Mr Back estimated that he was trapped underwater between the console and the crushed canopy for 30-40 seconds before another wave lifted the boat enough for him to surface.

He and the women were rescued by Matthew Flinders Anglican College schoolmates Connor Lane, 16, and Fraser Pappin 15, and their relatives who, by a stroke of good luck, were jet-skiing nearby.

The boys would not have been jet-skiing had a spare part Connor ordered online only on Wednesday night not arrived last Friday.

"The boys being there, it helped you feel a bit calmer because you knew someone was there, to get the girls and get them to shore," Mr Back said.

In another stroke of good luck, Mr Back and Ms Grant's three-year-old jack russell terrier Katie-Rose, survived the drama.

The dog was thought to have drowned but popped out of the life-jacket well after the boat was brought to shore 90 minutes later.

The boat, which Mr Back bought only a week earlier, was uninsured.

Mr Back, a photographer, lost all of his camera gear and his car key, which will cost $1500 to replace.

His run of bad luck continued when he hooked up his trailer to a borrowed four-wheel-drive to take the boat home, and was fined for leaving his vehicle at the boat ramp carpark without a trailer.

Mr Back was philosophical about the treatment meted out by fate's fickle hand on Sunday.

"I'm alive, that's lucky for me," he said.

"I know it's cliched, but you do count your lucky stars. I could have died on Sunday and now I'm alive."



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