A 30-year-old man is pulled from the water off Cape Moreton Photo: Supplied The rescue off Cape Moreton Photo: Seven News
Ron Fankhauser, 30, was plucked from the water after a boating accident that claimed the life of his friend, Rob Royston. Photo: Facebook
Moreton Bay boat accident survivor clung to father’s dead body: RescuerThree people pulled from waters off Cape Moreton
A man who died in his son’s arms after a boating accident has been remembered as an “awesome guy” who passed doing what he loved.
Keen fisherman Rob Royston, son Leevi and friend Ron Fankhauser were knocked into the cold ocean north-east of Moreton Island on Sunday morning when two rogue waves capsized their boat.
They didn’t have time to grab life jackets and barely managed to set off an emergency beacon to let authorities know where they were.
Leevi and Ron were pulled from the water with hypothermia more than an hour and a half later but Rob didn’t make it.
“(The waves) went over that fast I couldn’t set EPIRBs and stuff off before we were all in the water so I had to dive back underneath the boat to get the EPIRB,” Mr Fankhauser told Nine News.
After activating the emergency beacon credited with saving his and Leevi’s lives, the father of three struck out for three trawler ships in the distance to find help.
Meanwhile Leevi held his father as the cold water slowly took it’s toll.
The 57-year-old died before emergency crews arrived to find his son still clinging to his father’s dead body.
Leevi’s friend Sophie Angel said he and his dad were best friends and fishing was their life.
“I guess you never think it’s going to happen to anyone you know and people say it all happens to the best people,” she said.
“Well it did because they were literally just the most amazing people ever, so kind.
“It’s honestly just a tragedy. I still can’t believe it’s happened. We all can’t.”
Queensland Government Air Rescue air crew officer Daren Parsons said the result could have been even worse if the emergency beacon hadn’t been activated.
“”There could have been three (fatalities) out there if they didn’t have a beacon,” he said.
“No one would have known they were out there until they would have been overdue.
“They were so far off the coast, it’s such a big ocean out there that the beacon’s sort of the only thing that saved the two other men’s lives.”
The trio were taking a new boat, which the hairdresser said belonged to another friend, on her maiden voyage.
Even more tragically, she said Rob had just beaten cancer.
“They’ve pulled him through that. He’s beaten that and just to have this happen (is shocking),” she said.
The hairdresser said Leevi and his father, who was an “awesome guy”, had brought their friendship group together with regular get togethers at their Beachmere home.
“At the end of the day at least he’s gone with something they both love doing and I think that’s what is holding Leevi together because they were both there doing something they loved,” she said.
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