Carl Pries and his sons were out fishing yesterday in their five-metre fibreglass boat in Dawesville, South of Perth, when their vessel was swamped by a freak wave and began taking on water.
“Within about three seconds the boat had just uprighted itself and slowly going down,” the 39-year-old father said.
“When your boys turn around and ask if you’re going to die out there, that’s pretty hard.”
The trio waited helplessly for almost two hours before help arrived.
When a hand-held VHF radio floated free from the vessel, Mr Pries was able to grab it and make an emergency distress call just before 5pm.
As well as the emergency call, Mr Pries dove down to find the boat’s Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) to help rescuers locate them.
“It was a good 20 minutes in the water before I could actually get my breathe back to dive down and grab the EPIRB from underneath,” he said.
“They (his sons) didn’t want me to go underneath to get it, but I had to.”
WA Police’s Sergeant Troy Pillage said if the trio didn’t have the hand-held radio with them “the outcome could have been very different”.
Police Air-Wing, Water Police officers and Mandurah Marine Rescue were dispatched.
Officers in the police helicopter spotted the trio in the water about 18km west of the Dawesville Cut.
They were pulled from the water and taken to Peel Health Campus for treatment for hypothermia and jelly fish stings.