Son’s desperate swim after parents drown
A man had to leave the bodies of his dead parents behind and swim 3km with his girlfriend through shark-infested seas after the boat all four were on flipped, throwing them into the ocean.
Bob and Jan Oostryck, their son Ryan and his girlfriend Galina were on a family fishing trip in their 6m boat in Coral Bay, 1200km northwest of Perth when freak waves capsized the vessel about 2pm on Tuesday.
Ryan and Galina resurfaced near the overturned boat at North Passage near Mauds Landing to find his parents had not survived the accident.
A statement by the Oostryck family released to The West Australian said the couple had been knocked unconscious and then trapped underwater for some time.
Ryan and tried for 20 to 30 minutes to resuscitate the pair "but were unsuccessful", according to the statement which said the family is "heartbroken" and "hurting deeply".
The young couple then had to make the terrible decision to secure Bob and Jan Oostryck's bodies to the boat and swim to shore.
They swam 3km, taking four hours to reach land, then hiked a further 6km through Western Australia's remote Gascoyne region.
The exhausted pair reached campers on a beach who drove them into Coral Bay to raise the alarm about 8.35pm on Tuesday night.
A massive air, land and sea search was mounted after the alarm was raised, but the deceased couple and vessel were not able to be located until 8am on Wednesday.
"The younger couple made it to the surface," Pilbara District Acting Superintendent Mark Flesken said.
"Shortly afterwards the couple in their 70s came to surface but unfortunately at that point in time it appeared they had passed away."
The young couple then made "a fairly lengthy swim of about 3km - it took them quite a few hours," he said.
Supt Flesken said the tragedy happened when two large waves struck the Oostryck's boat unexpectedly.
"I'm not aware of the actual size of the waves or whether they could be classified as freak, but they were certainly strong enough to knock the boat and capsize the boat," he said.
Supt Flesken urged anyone going out on the water to be prepared.
"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.
The Oostryck family's statement said the couple's boat had been fully stocked with safety equipment, but the sudden capsizing had made it inaccessible.
Local holiday spot Coral Bay House, where the Oostrycks were well-known, posted a Facebook message in memory of the "long time friends, confidants, fishing buddies and fighters of the plight to regain recognition of justice served here in Coral Bay".
"RIP together, may your days now be to look over other fishing buddies," the post reads
"Our deepest sympathy to Ryan and Anastasia who were also on the boat. I cannot imagine the pain you are in right now."
Coral Bay is part of the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Coast, which has the largest fringing coral reef in the world and is a haven for dolphins and whales.
Originally published as Son's desperate swim after parents drown