Two men have been rescued from the water and a third remains missing, after their boat sank at Creal Reef, east of Airlie Beach.
It’s believe a rogue wave hit a seven-metre vessel carrying three people, including two brothers, about 8.30pm on Thursday.
All three were in the water as the boat sank and the two brothers tied themselves to a blue esky, before all three men became separated.
RACQ CQ Rescue winched a 44-year-old Grasstree Beach man out of the ocean about 170km offshore around 11am this morning.
He was spotted by the crew floating with no lifejacket and no clothes on, within five minutes of the search commencing.
He was flown to Mackay Base Hospital in a serious but stable condition, suffering exposure, dehydration and hypothermia.
He is also in and out of consciousness.
The rescue crew confirmed it was the same man spotted by the chopper last night on the hull of the overturned boat, during a search after an EPRIB activation at Creal Reef. They were unable to perform a rescue at the time.
The man says he saw the helicopter circling overhead before flying off.
As part of the search early this morning, Volunteer Marine Rescue also has retrieved another man, one of the brothers, from the water and Townsville helicopter Rescue 500 winched him aboard and transported him to Mackay Base Hospital in a serious condition.
One person is believed to be still missing and the search will continue.