Fisherman survives six hours stranded in Australian sea

Angler fell overboard trying to save camera while fishing for marlin


Fishing, Mangrove Bay

A man was left stranded in the sea for six hours after falling overboard during a solo fishing trip.

Ross Chapman, thought to be in his 20s and from New Zealand, fell into the sea during the trip around 55km off the remote North West Cape in Australia.

See also: British diver rescued after 18 hours in Australian ocean

See also: Fisherman almost speared by 350lb blue marlin

He reportedly dropped his GoPro camera while bringing in a large marlin, and fell into the ocean while trying to rescue it.

A friend told ABC News exactly what happened. Exmouth resident and game fisher Jeni Gates said: "He just caught a marlin which was about 250 kilos he estimated.

"He tagged the fish, he released it and he had his GoPro camera sitting on the transom on the back of the boat.

"And of course the boat was in gear and it kept going, and he just couldn't keep up with it."

Authorities were alerted when another fisherman saw the man's boat moving along at some speed without a driver.

According to the Standard, he was found treading water in "the middle of nowhere".

He was taken to hospital suffering with shock and hypothermia.

Speaking to the BBC, Rusty Ellis, commander of the Exmouth Volunteers Marine Rescue Group, said: "I think everybody is extremely relieved that he was found at all. It could have quite easily been a disastrous situation."

He added that while some people have survived up to 36 hours in the water, that depended on body mass and other factors.

Mr Ellis pointed out that the threat of sharks and dehydration were also very real.

He added: "If he hadn't been found when he was, that would have meant him spending the night in the water... and the scenarios aren't anything to be cheerful about.

"There's jelly fish, sharks, orcas - he was a long, long way out to sea."

Mr Ellis said the incident highlighted the dangers of going fishing alone.

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