Tale of three men and an esky’s ocean rescue takes a surprising turn

The image of three men clinging to an esky about 17 kilometres off Western Australia’s southern coast and the tale of their miraculous rescue garnered national attention earlier this month.

On Wednesday night the Australian Federal Police and WA Police recovered the boat the men had been travelling on when it experienced engine trouble and began taking on water.

In the process of the recovery, the authorities discovered what an AFP spokesperson described as “suspicious packages” on board.

The AFP and Australian Border Force are now investigating.

The men were rescued after police and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority received an alert from an emergency beacon, leading to the Albany Sea Rescue being scrambled along with the Perth-based Challenger rescue aircraft.

The rescue plane spotted the three men wearing lifejackets, floating around the esky in choppy waters. The men were recovered and had no serious injuries.

Albany Sea Rescue co-ordinator Chris Johns said at the time that it took just over an hour from the emergency beacon, known as an EPIRB, being activated to the men being rescued.

“It was a really good result and shows how emergency services come together and particularly how necessary EPIRBs are,” he said.

An AFP spokesperson declined to comment further as the investigation was ongoing.

Anyone with information about this matter is urged to call the AFP on 131 237 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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