Three Port Stephens water police officers have been nationally recognised for their epic rescue of three sailors, who were stranded 220 nautical miles off the New South Wales coast.
The men were returning from a holiday on Lord Howe Island last November when their yacht’s mast broke.
The mission to save them took 54-hours and was one of the longest non-stop tows ever conducted by the state’s police.
The officers covered more than 400 nautical miles, with seas up to five metres and winds over 40 knots, to bring the men and yacht safely back to shore.
Sergeant Tony Hogg, Senior Constable Matthew Gray and Senior Constable Nicholas Leach have all been awarded Professional Search and Rescue commendations.
Port Stephens Water Police, Sergeant Tony Hogg, said the job was one of the most challenging rescues of his career.
“The sea conditions were very ordinary to say the least, we were getting continually battered on our starboard side for about 50 of the 54 hours we were at sea, but the professionalism and training of my team allowed for a successful outcome,” Sgt Hogg said.
“The satisfaction you get out of a rescue of this nature is very hard to explain, but we are extremely grateful we were able to successfully rescue these three men and reunite them with their families.”
“The officers from Port Stephens Marine Area Command conducted this operation in extreme conditions and saved the lives of three men,” said Mark Morrow from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.