Fisherman swims six hours to safety

A TWEED Heads fisherman who remarkably swam for six hours to reach safety has been discharged from hospital.

Marine Rescue Point Danger’s Carmel Jones was the controller during last night’s massive search operation.

“Lucky he was a strong swimmer,” Mrs Jones said.

“Miracles do happen.”

An air and land search was launched about 5.15pm DST after Queensland police found the man’s boat, with the engine running and nobody aboard, off Kirra Beach.

About 11.30am a 25-year-old man left the Kennedy Drive boat ramp to go fishing at a location known as Nine Mile, about 4.5 nautical miles off Tweed Heads.

“We sent the boat out about 5.30pm and were assisted by NSW and Queensland police,” Mrs Jones said.

“There were two water police boats, helicopters and two young friends of the man searching.

“They called the search off about 9pm when could see anything.”

Mrs Jones said about 10.30pm the man swum ashore at Fingal Head and knocked at a house where he was assisted by a resident.

“We don’t know how far he swam because of the currents last night were awfully strong.

“He might have been caught in the strong southerly current.”

The man was taken to the Tweed Hospital with minor cuts and abrasions and mild hypothermia.

“He’s out of hospital and having a good sleep,” Mrs Jones said.

It is believed he was knocked overboard by a wave near Nine Mile and his boat, still under power, drove away from him.

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