A man was forced to leave his dead parents behind and swim 3km through shark-infested waters alongside his girlfriend after the boat they were on capsized and all four were thrown in to the ocean.
Bob and Jan Oostryck, in their 70s, were fishing off Coral Bay – about 1,100km north of Perth – making use of their son Ryan and his girlfriend Anastasia on Tuesday when waves flipped their 6.1-metre fishing boat at about 2pm.
The young couple caused it to be back to the surface alive. Soon after, the bodies of Mr and Mrs Oostryck emerged.
The elderly couple were out making use of 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
‘The younger couple caused it to be to the outer lining,’ Pilbara District Acting Superintendent Mark Flesken said on Tuesday.
“It’s a reasonably lengthy swim of about 3km — it took them quite a few hours.
Pilbara District Acting Superintendent Mark Flesken
‘Shortly a short while later the couple in their 70s came to surface but unfortunately when this occurs in time it appeared that 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 somebody who could help.
An air and sea search began in early stages Wednesday searching for the vessel (pictured after being towed right back to shore) and Mr and Mrs Oostryck’s bodies
Ryan and Anastasia were forced to swim 3km and walk 6km before finally help
‘Once they reached the shore they had a six-kilometre-plus walk until they came across a part of the city who raised the alarm,’ Mr Fleskens said.
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 still floating nearby.
Police are yet to confirm whether Mr and Mrs Oostryck were wearing lifejackets.
Ryan and Anastasia received medical treatment in Coral Bay.
Ryan (right with The Chaser’s Craig Reucassel) was on the boat together with his parents and girlfriend when it capsized
Staff at Coral Bay House, a holiday accommodation which Mr and Mrs Oostryck usually 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 very long time friends, confidants, fishing buddies and fighters of the plight to regain recognition of justice served within Coral Bay.
‘Guys may you RIP together, may your days now be to look over other fishing buddies.
‘Thank you for the kindness, your entire devotion, the countless dinner dates where we fed Bob to his fullest, to the timeless hours of talk with Joe and actually just your love of the others for no reward. You will be missed greatly.
‘Our deepest sympathy to Ryan and Anastasia who have been 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 tragedy.
‘We give our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of these involved,’ he said.
He also issued a warning to anybody going out to sea.
‘At this time around of the entire year, especially out this way, the elements is beautiful and my message to all boat users is enjoy yourself but be prepared,’ he said.
‘Make sure you’ve got all the emergency EPIRBs and beacons, and most importantly wear your life jackets, let people know what your location is going and when you are expecting to return 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 the fishing trip in May 2016 at Coral Bay.
The pair couldn’t be found during the five-day search, but an arm belonging to Mr Kitchen was found two days later by way of a tourist snorkelling in the area.
A year earlier, a 24-year-old man died while snorkelling at Coral Bay in 2015.