Sharks attack: three people rescued after yacht damaged off Australia coast

Large part of catamaran’s stern was torn away after sharks attacked in the Coral Sea

Three people on board a catamaran in the Coral Sea off the northeast coast of Australia have been rescued after the hulls of the vessel became damaged from several shark attacks, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said on Wednesday.

Satellite photos and a video on the AMSA website showed a large part of the stern of the yacht torn away.

“The vessel departed from Vanuatu and was bound for Cairns (Australia) when contact was established. Both hulls of the vessel have been damaged following several shark attacks,” the AMSA said in a statement.

Rescue crews responded to an emergency positioning beacon registered to the Tion, a nine-metre inflatable catamaran, early on Wednesday morning. The yacht was later located about 835km (519 miles) southeast of Cairns in the Coral Sea.


AMSA requested the assistance of a Panama-flagged vehicle carrier, the Dugong Ace, which successfully carried out the rescue. A rescue plane also flew to the scene.

The three passengers – two Russian and one French citizen, aged between 28 and 64 – are due to arrive in Brisbane on Thursday, AMSA said.

“The three males were very happy to be rescued, and they’re all healthy and well,” said Joe Zeller, duty manager at AMSA’s Canberra response centre.

Mr Zeller said a journey from the Pacific Island nation of Vanuatu to Australia on such a vessel would usually take two to three weeks.

He said the GPS-encoded emergency beacon had saved the men’s lives by allowing rescuers to quickly pinpoint their location and mount a rescue.

He said there were many reasons why a shark may attack a boat. “However, the motivations of these sharks is unclear,” Mr Zeller said. – Agencies