The Border Watch : January 4th 2017
2 NEWS VISIT US ONLINE borderwatch.com.au Vandepeer family relative urges residents to exercise caution at seaTragedy triggers water safety plea DD EWIS firstname.lastname@example.org A RELATIVE of the Vandepeer family members who went missing off the coast of Cape Jaffa last month does not want to see another tragedy on Limestone Coast waters. Sarah Vandepeer, sister of Len, sister-in-law of Annette and aunt of Douglas Vandepeer, said people must adopt appropriate safety precautions. “I don’t care if you are a professional fisherman or an amateur, you need to follow the safety precautions,” Ms Vandepeer said. “Wearing a life jacket is mandatory, keeping your mobile phone in a waterproof case is essential and you must tell someone where you are going and when you will be returning.” Ms Vandepeer said her family members might be in a different situation if they had the chance to raise the alarm earlier. “If you can’t afford to take all of those safety precautions, maybe you can’t afford to take a boat out on the water,” Ms Vandepeer said. “People say it is too expen- sive to get the equipment, well maybe take a look at the situation our family is in and really ask yourself if it is too expensive.” The recent tragedy involv- ing her family members, who have not been seen since their boat was reported missing on December 12, along with other potential tragedies on the water, has prompted her to speak out. “My cousin also had a near miss and he almost lost his son, so I’m just hearing of too many situations like this,” Ms Vandepeer said. Limestone Coast officer in charge Superintendent Grant Moyle has also called for greater caution on the water. He outlined a recent incident on December 10 last year when two men were retrieving a cray pot and their 14-foot aluminium boat capsized. “They were not wearing life jackets and had to swim 200 metres to shore where they were treated by ambulance officers,” Supt Moyle said. “They were very lucky.” Supt Moyle said while the law does not require boat users to wear a life jacket, it is a “wise move” to do so. “We have seen what can happen when people don’t wear life jackets as opposed to the two men in Port MacDonnell last week who were wearing life jackets and as a result were returned to their families,” Supt Moyle said. Trevor Brant and David Moulden were the two men who have lived to tell the story. “I kid you not, if we didn’t have those life jackets on, we wouldn’t be sitting here,” Mr Brant said. He said there was no reason not to wear them as they are “basically like a fishing jacket”. “They just held us up in the water, which we are so grateful for and that is what we want people to realise,” Mr Brant said. “Don’t go out without one and don’t take unnecessary chances because they do save lives.” WEAR YOUR JACKET: Limestone Coast officer in charge Superintendent Grant Moyle said in other states life jackets are compulsory and it is a “wise move” to wear one. Picture: LEON RADEMEYER Fishermen praise life jackets following quick offshore rescue From front page Trevor tried to put out a mayday call, but realised his radio was too damaged. “All I could get out of it when I put the mayday call out was squealing in return and I said to David ‘we’re in trouble here’,” Trevor said. David called his fiancee to alert Coastguard, but shortly after the call he spotted a dinghy, occupied by Michael Higgs and Grady Hutchesson. “I said to my fiancee ‘you need to get onto Coastguard, cause we’re sinking, I’m at Orwell Rocks, I need help as soon as possible’ she said ‘yep, no worries’ and hung up,” David said. “I’d rang my missus just before we saw this tinny coming.” David and Trevor started bellowing and waving buckets to attract the attention of the dinghy operator. “The young man in the dinghy was going out to check his pots and saw the buckets,” Trevor said. “He came straight in and by the time they got there my boat had capsized and we were in the water.” Trevor and David were wearing life jackets, which helped them stay afloat throughout the ordeal. “It was a relief when you hear those life jackets inflate and you think ‘yes, we’re up’,” Trevor said. “It was a beautiful sound and I will never forget that sound for as long as I live.” Michael and Grady retrieved the men, pulling them both up onto the boat. “They grabbed me, lifted the life jacket and pulled me up over,” David said. “It’s hard to know how much gratitude to show, but I just kissed them and said ‘you’ve saved our lives’.” The men were taken straight into shore, where they were greeted by several people with towels and warm clothes. “I rang my missus at 6.48pm and at 7pm we were on the beach at Orwell Rocks, so the whole ordeal was around 12 minutes,” David said. “We had a nice hot cup of coffee and they got warm clothes for us and my partner was there by that stage.” David said he was overcome with emotion when he saw his family after fearing the worst out in the water. “The thing running through my head when I jumped in the water was ‘I might not see my family again’,” David said. “I thought ‘this is it, my last phone call 2 - The Border Watch, Wednesday, January 4, 2017 BACK WITH FAMILY: David Moulden with his children Claudia Moulden, Brooke Moulden and stepdaughter Claire Wilson and Trevor Brant with grandson Liam Hunt. to my fiancee was get help we’re sinking’, it really puts life into perspective.” David said once they had time to reflect on the whole ordeal, they realised just how lucky they were. “There are so many things that could have easily gone the other way, like being trapped under the boat or getting your leg caught in a rope,” David said. “So many things could have happened, but luckily it didn’t and here we are to tell the story.” David and Trevor said on reflection there was little they could have done differently after the accident occurred. “I think at the end of the day we probably did the right thing, stayed until the end then got off,” David said. It was a relief when you hear those life jackets inflate and you think ‘yes, we’re up’. It was a beautiful sound and I will never ever forget that sound for as long as I live Trevor Brant “There were people saying ‘you should have done this, you should have done that’, but until you are in that situation, you just don’t know.” David said it was just a “terrible situation to be in”. “You could be the best swimmer in the world, but when you are out there at the peril of the open sea and you’ve got wind, current and chop, it’s completely different to swimming up and Picture: TODD LEWIS down a pool doing 40 laps,” David said. The two men were not sure when they would be out on the water again, but said when the time comes, they will be together. “I’ve had a few mates offer to take me out and get me back on the water straight away, but I’m just not ready for that yet,” David said. “I want to go too, but under my circumstances and I want David and me together, because we don’t want this incident to beat us,” Trevor said. Trevor said for now their focus will be thanking all the “very beautiful people” who played a role in their rescue. “All the Port MacDonnell people that were involved in our rescue, we thank them very much, from the bottom of our hearts,” Trevor said.
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