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Fears for trawler crew in cyclone area

March 09, 2009

Article from:  Australian Associated Press

CYCLONE Hamish is hampering efforts to rescue three people who are missing in their trawler off the central Queensland coast.

A distress signal was sounded from the trawler around 10am (AEST) today, about 120 nautical miles (220km) off the coast of Rockhampton.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) says a fixed wing aircraft came within 28 nautical miles (52km) of the distress signal around 1.30pm (AEST) toay but had to abort due to the extreme weather conditions.

The Australian Defence Force will send a C-130 Hercules to help locate the missing trawler but it is expected the people on board will not be rescued before tomorrow.

 "We have called for assistance from the defence force. They are sending a Hercules from Richmond (New South Wales), which is expected to arrive around 5pm (AEST),'' said AMSA spokeswoman Tracey Jiggins.

"They will be able to drop a life raft and supplies but they won't be able to pick them up out of the water.''

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