Monday, February 27, 2012

Qld: Trees save elderly anglers in Qld lake

AAP General News (Australia)
Qld: Trees save elderly anglers in Qld lake

By Alex Murdoch and John Sheed

BRISBANE, April 28 AAP - An elderly fisherman has spent 23 hours clinging to a tree
in the middle of a Queensland lake, just weeks after another elderly angler found himself
in a similar predicament in the same lake.

Ronald O'Connell, 71, from Mudgeeraba on the Gold Coast, was fishing for Redclaw yesterday
on Lake Maraboon, near Emerald in central Queensland, when his dinghy was swamped by a
wave and sank about 9am (AEST).

He swam to a nearby tree branch which was protruding from the water and spent 23 hours
there before being found by rescuers today.

Just three weeks ago, 77-year-old Noel Herbert from Brisbane also survived by clinging
to a tree in the same lake for nine hours after his boat was swamped by a wave.

"They were hardy old characters - the both of them. Tough as old nails," Emerald Ambulance
paramedic George Thomson said.

He said Mr O'Connell was hungry and tired but otherwise in perfect health when he was found.

"All he wanted to do was have a feed and then go and have a drink with one of his mates
- he didn't want to stay with me," he said.

Mr Thomson said the overnight conditions had been very cool and, with Mr O'Connell's
flimsy clothing and advanced age, he couldn't believe he had not suffered exposure.

Mr O'Connell was today catching up on sleep.

"He's gone to bed now and is too tired to talk to anyone," Cathy Walsh from the Lake
Maraboon Holiday Village said.

Senior Sergeant John Lewis from Emerald police was also amazed that Mr O'Connell had
come through his ordeal unharmed.

"I know the police out there and the SES were astonished, to say the least, when he
hopped off the boat that picked him up and just walked off," he said.

"He was fine."

AAP jfs/sc/jnb/tnf


2005 AAP Information Services Pty Limited (AAP) or its Licensors.

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