Sign language over Skype helps rescue stranded carload
FRASER Island Towing has been kept very busy so far this year, with three to four towings a day as holidaymakers fall victim to the hot, dry sand caused by the longstanding drought.
In recent incidents, a 20-tonne ex-US military Oshkosh had to be extracted from a soft patch of sand on the western side of Fraser Island on December 22.
The rescue mission took six hours and involved a seven-tonne recovery truck and the help of passers-by.
Less than a week later, a group of 12 deaf people from Melbourne travelled in three four-wheel-drive vehicles for a holiday on Fraser Island.
But their holiday had a bit of a hiccup when one of the vehicles carrying two people had engine failure and could not proceed on the western side of Coongul Creek.
The driver skyped his mum and explained the situation in sign language, which was then conveyed to Fraser Island Towing owner Carolyn Elder.
"We made sure they had enough food, water and a place to stay and then had to check what the tides were before sending a rescue truck to pick them up at Coongul Creek," Mrs Elder said.
They stayed at a Eurong campsite that night and were driven back to Rainbow Beach for a couple of days before catching a flight at Brisbane.
Their vehicle could not be fixed so they called RACV to tow it back to Melbourne.
The two other vehicles continued their trek of Fraser Island, but soon after another incident occurred.
One of the drivers hit a stump, causing a front tyre to dislodge between Kingfisher Bay and Eurong. Nobody was injured but the towing company was called to assist.
"They were very capable people from country Victoria and they weren't novice drivers," Mrs Elder said.
"There has definitely been a lot more mechanical failures due to the hot, dry sand.
"Some boggings have also been contributed to the high tide driving on Double Island Point and Teewah Beach."