A fisherman hung onto his father’s dead body, an esky and an emergency beacon after a wave capsized their boat in Brisbane’s Moreton Bay, rescuers say.
The pair and another man had been in the water for nearly two hours before they were winched out by an air rescue helicopter on Sunday morning.
Rescuers say the two survivors, believed to be aged in their 30s, could have also died if it had not been for the emergency beacon on their 5.6 metre boat, which had only been bought on Saturday.
An emergency helicopter was dispatched after the beacon went off.
The first thing the crew spotted was a pair of boots floating on the water but soon after they noticed two people near a buoy.
One man, who was hanging onto an esky and the body of his dead father, was located and saved, rescue crew officer David Turnbull told AAP.
“Shortly after we found another guy,” he said. “He was clinging to a jerry can in the water.”
The men had gone out on an overnight fishing trip on Saturday but ran into trouble while trying to reposition their boat on Sunday morning.
“As they started it, a freak wave, they say, hit the front of the boat and swamped the motor,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Straight after that another one broke and tipped the boat over, put the gentlemen in the water.”
The fishermen weren’t wearing lifejackets.
Wind was picking up and the sea was moderately rough when the men were rescued in the popular boating area about 20 nautical miles northeast of Cape Moreton.
“It’s a fair way out for a boat that size,” Mr Turnbull said.
The survivors were airlifted to the Princes Alexandra Hospital, where they were treated for hypothermia and fatigue.
An investigation is under way and a report is being prepared for the coroner.