Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

April 12th 2007
Man overboard after drunken altercation

The Maggie Cat is one of Sunferries new vessels Last Thursday night on the late ferry from Townsville a young man was allegedly thrown overboard by another passenger. It appears there was an alcohol fueled altercation leading to the dunking which occurred about 1 km off Hawkings Point. As a result Sunferries are reviewing their policy for carrying inebriated passengers.

The incident occurred at the back of one of the new ferries and Sunferries new General Manager, Mr Darren McDonald told, "One of crew had just come out of the engine room (after the incident) and sounded the alarm. The vessel then went back and the motors were turned off so they could hear him (the man overboard). They located him wearing a white shirt as the water was very lumpy"

The man was then safely hauled back and the ferry proceeded on to Nelly Bay where the vessel was met by Island police.

According to MI Police Senior Sargent Kerry Kraut, "We spoke to a number of men but no charges were laid by anybody."

It appears that the man overboard was not injured in the event and Sargent Kraut said, "We are still investigating but we have to have reliable evidence and nobody wanted to make complaints."

Darren McDonald said, "There must be something we can charge them on but as far as we know there were no credible witnesses. It poses the question of legal responsibility for drunk people and whether we should take them. It's a risk to other passengers as well and we are presently looking at how the Brisbane River cats' handling procedure works."

According to some reports the ferry crew's efforts to locate the man overboard were hampered by a lack of spotlights which could be trained on the water.

Darren McDonald said, "We have a spot on the front of the vessel but certainly lets look at the whole thing." He was uncertain however if the vessels were equipped with non-fixed lights.

Mr McDonald also fended off rumours that the vessels had in fact been designed as river cats and not suitable to the rougher conditions on Cleveland Bay. Mr McDonald was adamant that this was untrue and commented that, "These vessels are structurally stronger than the previous boats. They are designed to be light-weight and more fuel efficient."

Mr McDonald was also happy to explain how it was that a vessel was stopped in rough weather recently to allow a mother and baby who had stood at the back of the boat and were being hit by spray to move safely to a more sheltered location. "The upper deck was not cleared of people - they had a choice and the boat was stopped so they could move safely" he said.

Story and photo: George Hirst

To make a comment see below

Man overboard after drunken altercation
April 17th 2007
"Drink or Swim" ?

V Jeffery
April 17th 2007
Surely there are general policies relating to public transport that prohibit the carrying of inebriated passengers for the good of both themselves and other passengers (not just those rules that might or might not apply to Brisbane's river cats) - why should the ferries be any different?
and as for the seaworthy-ness of these new ferries - can't wait to see a rough and following sea - we've seen nothing yet. They roll and pitch to a sickening extent, no forward vision except for someone's head in front. Shame that they weren't designed for passenger comfort but passenger quantity - but hey, maybe the TV and loud radio will take the minds off all of us stupid island people, who after all , chose to live here, once upon a time.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

Readers comments
Syl Hayes In reply to Fair raises $15,000 for school
What a wonderful outcome for the school! I had a great time face-painting with Luke and Sasha, met lots of kids and parents,scored some great books at the Trash n Treasure stall, and even remembered to vote. Everywhere you looked people were enjoying themselves...such a tribute to the organisers. Well done!
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