South West Wales

Swansea Coastguard helps save sinking boat crew in Swansea, Australia

Swansea - in New South Wales
Image caption Swansea - in New South Wales

When an Australian boat crew began to sink they made an SOS call to what they thought was their local rescue team but got through to help 10,000 miles away.

Swansea Coastguards took the distress call and discovered the sailor was calling from a town of the same name as the Welsh city in New South Wales.

Three people were onboard a capsized dinghy in Lake Macquarie.

The Welsh Coastguards contacted the Australian emergency teams and the three crew members were saved.

Arwyn Williams, watchman at Swansea Coastguard, said the rescue began after they received a call at around 07:15 GMT.

"We received a call which came in as a routine call and he said they were sinking," he said.

The caller began describing the area he was in noting a tower nearby and said it was 18:30 local time.

"We didn't recognise any of the places or features he could see and then the night watchman asked him which country he was in - at which point he said Australia," Mr Williams said.

"We told him to ring his emergency services in their country but in the meantime we contacted the emergency services in Australia and passed on the details.

"We have no idea how he got through to us and to be fair to him he was quite calm.

"Had we not told him to call the services the guys might not have been rescued."

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