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Australia Skipper asked to rescue boat won't be compensated after vessel sank

15:10  30 july  2020
15:10  30 july  2020 Source:   9news.com.au

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A good Samaritan whose boat capsized while trying to rescue a vessel in distress, says he's heartbroken he won't be compensated.

David Berry was in waters off Kalbarri on the coast of Western Australia on Monday afternoon, when Volunteer Marine Rescue called and asked him to help someone in trouble nearby.

"I've hooked him up and started to tow him in," Mr Berry said.

a person holding a fish swimming under water: David Berry claims he was asked to go to the aid of a stricken vessel. © 9News David Berry claims he was asked to go to the aid of a stricken vessel.

"As we got through the river mouth the rope on the boat broke and he started heading out in to the reef, so I spun around and tried to help him but unfortunately both our vessels sank."

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Mr Berry says he was trapped underneath the hull of his boat until help arrived.

"I was sitting in a pocket of air there for a minute and I just didn't know where I was," he said.

"I'm just thankful that my dog managed to get out because if I'd lost my dog I don't know what I would've done."

David Berry and his best mate 'Blue Dog' were rescued with just some minor cuts and bruises, but his Sea Rider is a write-off.

a truck that is sitting on a sandy beach: Mr Berry said his own boat sank, but he's been told he's not eligible for compensation. © 9News Mr Berry said his own boat sank, but he's been told he's not eligible for compensation.

He says insurance won't cover the full value of the boat.

"I'm just a bit dumfounded and hurt mainly," he said.

"I don't think it's fair I should be the one out of pocket, when I was the one instructed to help."

In a 6PR radio segment on 'Mornings with Gareth Parker', Mr Berry was advised by legal expert John Hammond to seek an ex-gratia payment from state government.

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"You were performing the act of a good Samaritan," Mr Hammond said.

"But more than that, you were actually directed to go and do it."

A spokesperson for the Department of Fire and Emergency Services said in certain circumstances, Volunteer Marine Rescue will ask if a nearby vessel can wait with a vessel in distress until help arrives but would never instruct a vessel to tow or undertake a rescue.

Mr Berry says he's exploring his legal options.


Video: Local hero’s boat sinks during attempted rescue (9News.com.au)

Local hero’s boat sinks during attempted rescue
  Skipper asked to rescue boat won't be compensated after vessel sank 9News.com.au See more videos
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