Police and locals have rescued an elderly couple stranded in mud on a dinghy off a beach in the Gulf of Carpentaria after a four hour hour ordeal.
At 1.30pm on Wednesday, July 31, police received information the couple were stranded north of the mouth of the Norman River at Karumba. They had been there for one and a half hours at the time of the call.
A 73-year-old male with known medical conditions and his 76-year-old wife had been returning from fishing on a mud bank, when they ran aground in a spot notorious for similar incidents.
The vessel was 400 metres from the beach, and stuck in thigh-deep mud.
Police said that as there were no immediate health issues to prompt helicopter use, Karumba Police Station Officer in Charge Sergeant John Nelson devised a plan for rescue from land with assistance from locals and government agencies.
The coordinated response involved using two plastic spine board stretchers provided by Queensland Ambulance Service, 500 metres of rope donated by local business Raptis, and a pulley and recovery equipment supplied by the local Fisheries Inspector.
Flying Squad and Mount Isa plain clothes officers were also there, as they had been in town for the day executing search warrants and had only just terminated duty.
They too helped out as did Karumba locals.
Plain clothes officer Constable Fourcard-Roptig and Karumba officer Senior Constable Jesse Genever, had the difficult task of walking through the thigh-high mud, taking the stretchers and rope weighing more than 100kgs to the stranded vessel.
They reached the couple after an hour, then fixed the rope to the two stretchers with the other end attached to the pulley system, police and fisheries vehicles.
The couple then rode the stretchers into shore, with assisting offices walking alongside.
QAS gave the couple a clean bill of health after the four hour ordeal and afterwards the couple celebrated their rescuers, at the Sunset Tavern that evening.
Sergeant John Nelson said the successful rescue resulted from community members, businesses and government agencies working together and formulating an unorthodox plan with the resources available, as is often needed in remote communities.
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