A man was forced to leave his dead parents behind and swim 3km through shark-infested waters alongside his girlfriend after their boat capsized and all four had been thrown into the ocean.
Bob and Jan Oostryck, in their 70s, were fishing off Coral Bay – about 1,100km north of Perth – with their son Ryan and his girlfriend Anastasia on Tuesday when freak waves flipped their 6.1-metre fishing boat at about 2pm.
‘The younger couple made it to the surface,’ Pilbara District Acting Superintendent Mark Flesken said on Tuesday.
The elderly couple were out with their son Ryan (pictured) and his girlfriend Anastasia
Bob and Jan Oostryck (pictured) were fishing off Coral Bay on Western Australia’s mid-western coast on Tuesday afternoon
“It’s a fairly lengthy swim of about 3km — it took them quite a few hours.
Pilbara District Acting Superintendent Mark Flesken
‘Shortly afterwards the couple in their 70s came to surface but unfortunately at that point in time it appeared they had passed away.’
Ryan and Anastasia made the agonising decision to leave the bodies behind and swim the 3km to shore; an exhausting journey which took ‘quite a few hours’, Mr Fleskens said.
When they finally reached dry land, they were forced to hike another 6km through rugged terrain before finding someone who could help.
An air and sea search began early on Wednesday in search for the vessel (pictured after being towed back to shore) and Mr and Mrs Oostryck’s bodies
Ryan and Anastasia were forced to swim 3km and walk 6km before finally help
A major air and sea search was launched to find Mr and Mrs Oostryck.
Just before 8am on Wednesday, a Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre jet located the upturned vessel, with Mr and Mrs Oostryck’s bodies found floating nearby.
Police were yet to confirm whether they elderly couple were wearing life jackets.
Ryan and Anastasia received medical treatment in Coral Bay.
Ryan (right with The Chaser’s Craig Reucassel) was on the boat with his parents and girlfriend when it capsized
Staff at Coral Bay House, a holiday home which Mr and Mrs Oostryck frequently visited, shared their condolences.
‘Today we heard the very sad news of our dear friends Bob and Jan Oostryck, who drowned in a tragic freak accident here in Coral Bay,’ the post read.
‘They have been long time friends, confidants, fishing buddies and fighters of the plight to regain recognition of justice served here in Coral Bay.
‘May you RIP together, may your days now be to look over other fishing buddies.
‘Thank you for all your kindness, all of your devotion, the many dinner dates where we fed Bob to his fullest, to the timeless hours of talk with Joe and really just your love of others for no reward. You will be missed greatly.
‘Our deepest sympathy to Ryan and Anastasia who were also on the boat. I can not imagine the pain you are in right now.’
A Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre jet located the capsized vessel (right) just before 8am on Wednesday
Acting Superintendent Fleskens offered his condolences following the tragedy.
‘We give our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of those involved,’ he said.
He also issued a warning to anyone going out to sea.
‘At this time of the year, especially out this way, the weather is beautiful and my message to all boat users is enjoy yourself but be prepared,’ he said.
‘Make sure you have got all the emergency EPIRBs and beacons, and most importantly wear your life jackets, let people know where you are going and when you expect to come back to land.’
The 6.1m vessel (pictured) capsized after large waves overturned it on Tuesday afternoon
Mr and Mrs Oostryck’s deaths come four years after fishermen Nigel Kitchen, 50, and Andrew Hinds, 57, failed to return from a fishing trip in May 2016 at Coral Bay.
The pair couldn’t be found during a five-day search, but an arm belonging to Mr Kitchen was found two days later by a tourist snorkelling in the area.
A year earlier, a 24-year-old man died while snorkelling at Coral Bay in 2015.