A happy family trip turned into a nightmare for one man in Australia, who took his 7-year-old son fishing in early June off the coast of Caloundra.
Maike Hohnen was excited to go on the trip with his 7-year-old Julian and their family friend Stephen Jeacocke. They were planning on traveling about eight miles off the coast of Queensland to spend the day fishing.
But suddenly, at 1:30 a.m., they were jolted out of sleep and realized that the boat was taking on water — fast.
It was so fast, in fact, they had no time to do anything but send up a lightning-quick distress call. There was no time to activate the boat’s emergency beacon or even put on their life jackets.
In the next few moments, their boat flipped completely, momentarily trapping its passengers — including Julian — underwater.
“They had the safety gear on board but unfortunately, sort of in the time that they realized the boat was taking on water to it actually sinking, was only a matter of less than a minute,” Kyle Banks, a member of the Sunshine Coast water police said.
Without life jackets, the three passengers were forced to tread water for the next six hours. They also held on to debris from the capsized boat. But while they waited through the night, Hohnen and Jeacocke had one common goal: keep Julian safe.
Exhausted and freezing, the two men took turns supporting the little boy, passing him back and forth so that they could each rest.
After what must have been the longest six hours of their lives, the three survivors were spotted by the crew of a nearby tanker. Passengers immediately contacted emergency services. The men and Julian were airlifted from the water and rushed to the hospital in Queensland, where all three were diagnosed with hypothermia.
The water was about 70 degrees Fahrenheit that night.
But it’s possible to contract hypothermia in any water colder than your own body temperature. It’s all a matter of how much time you spend there and how much energy you lose. And the three passengers had been in the water for a long time.
“The adults within the group worked tremendously hard, beyond their own exhaustion, to try and keep the youngster afloat,” said Paul Boyd of the Queensland Ambulance Service.
But their ordeal wasn’t over yet.
Doctors were concerned about Julian, who was in critical condition after his ordeal. So, they made the decision to put him into a medically-induced coma. They believed increasing his body temperature was the best way to save his life.
“It’s always a delicate operation when you’re winching a patient that’s potentially suffering from hypothermia,” said Kristy MacAlister, a member of the Queensland Ambulance Service. “As you winch them out of the water, the wind temperature can also decrease the body temperature further.”
It was a frightening time for Julian’s parents.
Then, in what doctors called a “miraculous recovery,” the day after his coma began, Julian opened his eyes once again.
A short time later, he was happy and talking to his parents, who couldn’t believe their eyes.
Now, all three are expected to make a full recovery. Julian’s parents put out a heartfelt message of gratitude to all the rescue workers and medical personnel of Queensland Children’s Hospital. They know these people saved their son’s life.
Please SHARE this with your friends and family.
Follow your friends or be the first to join our group