A 'Christmas Miracle' for Missing Aussie Teens

4 paddleboarders spent at least 7 hours in Australia's Port Phillip Bay before finding land
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 20, 2022 9:00 AM CST
Teen Paddleboarders Vanished. Then a 'Christmas Miracle'
A view of Port Phillip Bay from Portsea, some 12 miles west of Rosebud.   (Wikimedia Commons/Kgbo)

A helicopter search for four Australian teenagers who failed to return from a paddleboarding excursion came to a happy end Tuesday when they were found washed up on an island some 20 miles from where they started out. Two men and two women, aged 18 to 19, had set out Monday on two paddleboards from the seaside town of Rosebud, southeast of Melbourne. They only got off the inflatables some seven hours later, per Nine News. According to Victoria Police, the group was caught in strong winds that carried them out into the 750-square-mile Port Phillip Bay, which is separated from the ocean by a narrow channel. The group ultimately came to rest on the shores of Swan Island, very near to that channel, around 2am Tuesday.

By that time, they'd been the subject of an hours-long emergency search. A passerby had spotted belongings on the beach around 8pm Monday and notified police. But it was a local resident on a morning beach walk who eventually found the foursome "safe and well," Victoria Police Acting Superintendent Terence Rowlands said, per CNN. "Cold and disorientated," the four had taken shelter in a hut, then wandered the island after the sun rose, police said. They were taken to a hospital with no obvious injuries. A father of one of the teens told Nine News it was a "huge, huge relief" as family members had been "very desperate." "These things usually end in tragedy," acting inspector Ian Pregnell said, per the Guardian. "This is, one might say, a Christmas miracle." (Read more Australia stories.)

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