The crews of 12 capsized yachts were rescued from the water in Esperance Bay yesterday afternoon, Saturday 15 February 2020, after a severe thunderstorm struck the area.
About 4:00pm WA Police Force received a call from a member of the public advising they had seen a boat capsize approximately 50-100m off the coast.
Volunteers from DFES Marine Rescue Esperance were deployed to the area and Esperance Police attended the shoreline. St John Ambulance also deployed a crew to the scene in case they were needed.
As the response to the first yacht was unfolding, a further 11 yachts capsized in the area. The yachts were taking part in a racing event involving a total of 24 yachts and three support vessels.
The crews of all 12 capsized yachts were rescued from the water by Marine Rescue Esperance and other support vessels, and 10 of the yachts were towed to shore. The remaining two were unable to be immediately recovered – one became stuck on a nearby fuel jetty, and the other drifted further away – however efforts were continuing to recover those yachts.
Despite experiencing challenging weather/water conditions that were pushing them out to sea, the remaining yachts were able to safely make it back to shore.
Fortunately no one was seriously injured during the incident.