Large fish dragged NZ fisherman into remote waters

Photo: ODT files
Photo: ODT files

A Kiwi fisherman was left treading water for six hours after being dragged into remote waters by a marlin off Western Australia.

The angler, who was fishing alone, caught the large fish about 55km off the remote North West Cape yesterday, BBC reported.

He was pulled overboard and his boat continued on without him.  

The man who is believed to be in his 20s, was found in the water after several boats joined the search.

Commander of Exmouth Volunteer Marine Rescue, Rusty Ellis, says another vessel came across the abandoned boat about 1.30pm and immediately called for assistance.

"They knew there was only one person meant to be on the boat," he told AAP. "He's a regular fisherman in the marlin fishing scene and has been out there quite a bit of time by himself."

Mr Ellis said the man's last radio communications had been hours earlier, around 9am.

"It was a little frantic there for a while but fortunately they did manage to find him," he said.

The man was put on a faster boat back to shore and taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia and shock.

"I believe he is OK," Mr Ellis said. "We're very, very very grateful that all the other boats in the region dropped what they were doing and raced over to assist in the search."

He said the man was also fortunate the weather conditions were "quite nice" on Tuesday, with the water temperature sitting around 26 degrees compared to cooler levels just days earlier.

"The amount of hypothermia that he got wasn't as bad as it could have been," he said.

He advised others to reconsider solo voyages given "there are a lot of issues with people going out there on their own".

"If something like this happens, you have nobody to back you up," Mr Ellis said.

"Most vessels these days are fitted with safety leads to cut the motor should you fall over and they should be attached to your wrist.

"When you're doing things like he is and wrestling big fish, they can be attached to your waist or your ankle or something, so you still have a chance."

Rescuers said the man was incredibly lucky to survive after being found in ``the middle of nowhere''.

``The boating community that was out there did a very good job at rallying around and getting a search underway as fast as possible,'' said Rusty Ellis, commander of the Exmouth Volunteers Marine Rescue Group.

``I think everybody is extremely relieved that he was found at all. It could have quite easily been a disastrous situation.''

The man was treated at Exmouth Hospital for hypothermia and shock.

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