Harrowing images have captured the moment two men were rescued in waters off the coast of central Queensland, having spent the night tied to a blue Esky after their boat overturned.

Emergency services are continuing their desperate search for a third man still missing, with police saying they hold serious concerns for his welfare.

The three men – two brothers and another man – were aboard a vessel when an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) was activated about 85 nautical miles northeast from Mackay Harbour at about 8.10pm on Thursday.

One of the men is rescued from the waters off the Queensland coast after spending the previous night floating at sea. Picture: Supplied / RACQ CQ Rescue

One of the men is rescued from the waters off the Queensland coast after spending the previous night floating at sea. Picture: Supplied / RACQ CQ Rescue

One of the men is rescued from the waters off the Queensland coast after spending the previous night floating at sea. Picture: Supplied / RACQ CQ Rescue

Emergency crews – including police, Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR), the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) Response Centre and a rescue helicopter – combed Creal Reef in the Coral Sea in response.

On Friday morning one of the men was located clinging to the boat.

‘Unfortunately, due to serious fuel and operational constraints, the helicopter was unable to winch the man,’ an RACQ CQ Rescue spokeswoman said.

The Grasstree resident, 44, was retrieved by VMR about 7am and transported to Mackay Base Hospital in a serious condition.

Two men are rescued from the waters off the Queensland coast. Picture: Supplied / RACQ CQ Rescue

Two men are rescued from the waters off the Queensland coast. Picture: Supplied / RACQ CQ Rescue

Two men are rescued from the waters off the Queensland coast. Picture: Supplied / RACQ CQ Rescue

A second Bray Park man, 43, was found naked floating near the reef by the rescue helicopter just after 11am.

‘He was suffering exposure, dehydration and hypothermia after being in the water since about 8.30pm last night,’ the spokeswoman said.

‘He was in an altered state of consciousness and was suffering serious cuts to his body from the reef.’

The man was flown to the same hospital for treatment.

But a 41-year-old Grasstree Beach man has not been located – with police holding ‘serious concerns’ for his welfare.

RACQ CQ said the second Bray Park man told rescuers a wave hit their 7m Goodwin Longboard about 8.30pm on the night of the incident.

'All three had clung to the hull of the boat after it sank until the two brothers tied themselves to a blue Esky to assist with flotation,' a spokeswoman said. Picture: Supplied / RACQ CQ Rescue

'All three had clung to the hull of the boat after it sank until the two brothers tied themselves to a blue Esky to assist with flotation,' a spokeswoman said. Picture: Supplied / RACQ CQ Rescue

‘All three had clung to the hull of the boat after it sank until the two brothers tied themselves to a blue Esky to assist with flotation,’ a spokeswoman said. Picture: Supplied / RACQ CQ Rescue

‘All three had clung to the hull of the boat after it sank until the two brothers tied themselves to a blue Esky to assist with flotation,’ the spokeswoman said.

‘They somehow became separated (from the third man) during the night.’

Senior Constable Syrrell Howard from the Mackay Whitsunday Water Police said the trio departed Mackay Harbour earlier this week for recreational fishing.

‘We were hampered initially by low light conditions and also by the area being so remote,’ he said.

Boaties and other recreational water users are asked to immediately report sightings to police.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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