Man lucky to survive marlin encounter
A SYDNEY man who was severely injured when a breaching marlin leapt into his boat near Wooli is lucky to be alive, says a Westpac Rescue Helicopter paramedic.
Helicopter air crew member Michael Kerry said Quentin Peck 46, his brother Nathan, 48, and friend Andrew Sprott, were on a 5m Zodiac rigid inflateable boat about 2km from Wooli in an area called the Home Range when the fish landed in their boat.
"The younger brother was standing at the front of the boat and threw up his right hand to protect his head," Mr Kerry said.
"He was lucky he was able to do it.
If the marlin's spear had hit his head, it would have been a whole different story.
"The boat was travelling 40km/h and the fish weighing about 100kg must have been travelling to leave the water at about head height. That's a heavy impact."
But Mr Kerry said Mr Peck's injuries were severe enough he could lose some function in his arm if micro-surgery did not work.
"The impact of the spear going into his arm and coming out ripped open muscles and ruptured tendons and ligaments as well as causing nerve damage," he said.
"We flew him to Coffs Harbour where his injuries were scanned and assessed.
"I understand an air ambulance flew him to Royal North Shore Hospital a few hours later, where he will be able to have the type of surgery he will need."
Mr Kerry said Mr Peck's injuries would require micro-surgery to be successful if he was to regain full use of his arm.
"He had an open fracture of the arm, but that was the least of his injuries," he said. "It was obvious there was significant tendon, ligament and mostly likely nerve damage as well."
Mr Kerry said there was also the risk of infection to consider.
"A sea creature has inflicted a severe injury on him, so there's a worry there could be an infection," he said.
"The air crew doctor on the flight administered antibiotics as well as pain killers while we flew him to the hospital."
All three men were in shock.
"It was over in seconds," Mr Kerry said. "The fish left the water and hit the younger brother at the front of the boat.
"It went past him and hit his brother standing behind him giving him some deep cuts around his shoulder and other scratches.
"Then it slid out of the back of the boat. It would have taken about two seconds.