Police rescue elderly boaties stuck in the Karumba mud

Police begin the painstaking task of rescuing a boating couple stuck in the mud off Karumba. Photos: supplied

Police begin the painstaking task of rescuing a boating couple stuck in the mud off Karumba. Photos: supplied

Police and locals have rescued an elderly couple stranded in mud on a dinghy off a beach in the Gulf of Carpentaria after a four-hour ordeal.

Police learned the couple was stranded north of the mouth of the Norman River at Karumba. They had been there for one-and-a-half hours at the time of the call.

A 73-year-old man with known medical conditions and his 76-year-old wife had been returning from fishing on a mud bank, when they ran aground on a notorious spot.

The vessel was 400 metres from the beach, and stuck in thigh-deep mud.

Two of the rescuers Constable Micka Fourcard-Roptig and Senior Constable Jesse Genever.

Two of the rescuers Constable Micka Fourcard-Roptig and Senior Constable Jesse Genever.

As there were no immediate health issues to prompt helicopter use, Karumba Police Station Officer in Charge Sergeant John Nelson devised a plan for rescue from land with assistance from locals and government agencies.

The coordinated response on Wednesday involved using two plastic spine board stretchers provided by Queensland Ambulance Service, 500 metres of rope donated by local business Raptis, and a pulley and recovery equipment supplied by the local Fisheries Inspector.

Flying Squad and Mount Isa plain clothes officers were also there, as they had been in town for the day executing search warrants and had only just finished duty.

They, too, helped out as did Karumba locals.

Plain clothes officer Constable Fourcard-Roptig and Karumba officer Senior Constable Jesse Genever, had the difficult task of walking through the thigh-high mud, taking the stretchers and rope weighing more than 100kgs to the stranded vessel.

They reached the couple after an hour, fixed the rope to the two stretchers with the other end attached to the pulley system, police and fisheries vehicles.

The couple then rode the stretchers into shore, with assisting offices walking alongside.

QAS gave the couple a clean bill of health after the four-hour ordeal and afterwards the couple celebrated their rescuers, at the Sunset Tavern that evening.

Sergeant John Nelson said the successful rescue resulted from community members, businesses and government agencies working together and formulating an unorthodox plan with the resources available, as is often needed in remote communities.