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Wet, cold elderly pair pulled from stricken vessel

Date

Jane Holroyd

Police rescued a couple in their 70s from their catamaran in waters off Victoria's south-east last night.

The husband and wife, both aged 75, had almost completed their sailing trip from Hobart to Eden when their 30-metre yacht ran aground in rough seas at Wingan Inlet, 60 kilometres west of Gabo Island, yesterday afternoon.

The couple managed to send a message to a friend who alerted police about 4pm. A police officer drove from Mallacoota then found the stricken boat after trekking the final hour of remote coastline on foot.

A paramedic and a member of the water police were flown to Wingan Inlet from Sale by helicopter about 11pm. The couple were winched from the yacht, checked by the paramedic then flown to Mallacoota where they spent the night.

Rural Ambulance spokesman John Mullen said the couple were "wet and cold" but were otherwise uninjured. "They had some hot drink and food then found accommodation in Mallacoota," he said.

The catamaran was secured and abandoned to be salvaged at a later date. It had been extensively damaged when it ran aground, including having both rudders broken.

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