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Surprise visitor lands on beach - Forster (Coastal town Australia)

Great Lakes Advocate 29/04/2009 9:26:00 AM

WHAT ARE YOU? Forster’s Caitlyn McKenna, Jessica Tyler and Emily Dreise check out what the tide dragged in at Forster Main Beach. It’s been identified as a life boat missing from a Chinese freighter - Kiribati Chief. Photo: Carl Muxlow.

“DAD, I think there’s a submarine down here.”
It was a phone call probably not made in these parts since the Japanese attack on Sydney Harbour in 1942. Luke Gardiner’s One Mile Beach discovery turned out to be a rusted orange lifeboat. But it’s hard to blame the Forster 19-year-old for thinking it was a sub. He spotted it in the dark and – well, look at it.

“I was just down at [the beach’s] mid bar 10 o’clock Thursday night with some friends, and we saw this big shape in the water,” he said.

“To be honest, I thought it was some kind of big container. Then we walked back past at 11, and I called my brother to bring down a torch. We saw it was a life boat, and I sort of wondered if there was anyone still in there. It was pretty freaky.”

Police cordoned off the boat and got it open. There were no skeletons grinning inside, but the morning revealed hull damage and a blaze of barnacles.

“We checked it out the next day and saw it had the holes and barnacles down one side,” he said.

“I was life-guarding [for Cape Hawke surf club] 6am the next day, and there were 15 people around it asking questions.”

The boat was reported missing two months ago after falling from the Chinese freighter Kiribati Chief.

Great Lakes natural assets officer said the council was helping the ship’s owners get the boat off the beach yesterday, and an excavator was seen carrying the 10-metre vessel just before print.

“It had sunk into the sand since Friday, but the company that owns it didn’t seem fazed. They just wanted it off the beach,” he said.

“It’s not as good as the Pasha Bulker, but Forster does try.”

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