Maike Hohnen took his 7-year-old son, Julian Hohnen and his friend, Stephen Jeacocke on a fishing trip off the coast of Queensland. Fishing was Maike’s favorite pastime, and his son loved going along. He says that they often went on fishing trips in his boat, and they never had any problems. The three of them loved heading out to the open ocean and going fishing.
8-Miles From Shore
The trio was fishing about 8-miles offshore. They decided to put down their anchor for the night to get some sleep. They had no idea that tragedy was about to strike.
While the three were sleeping, the boat started taking on water, and it was sinking quickly. The men managed to send a distress signal before the boat sank, but they didn’t have time to get any of the safety equipment necessary to survive in the freezing cold water, waiting for help to come.
Maike says that when he had to choose between getting the safety equipment and making the distress call, he knew that making the call was the best option. If he didn’t make the call, they could have ended up in the water, floating adrift for days. Maike was sure that the best way to be sure that they would be rescued would be to make the distress call. With under a minute to make a move, he is sure that he made the right one.
For the next six hours, the three desperately tried to survive in the frigid water. They spent the whole night taking turns holding Julian above water and trying to keep him awake. Keeping themselves awake became difficult as hypothermia began to set it. When a person’s temperature drops to a certain degree, their body begins to shut down. Maike and Stephen knew that once they fell asleep that there would be a good chance that they would never wake up again. Maike says that it was the longest six hours of his life.
The next morning, the rescue team found the stranded trio. Even though they found Maike, Stephen, and Julian, the danger wasn’t over. According to Kristy MacAlister of Queensland Ambulance Service, if a person is in the water, suffering from hypothermia, you have to be careful when pulling them out. The wind temperature can cause the body temperature to drop even more when a person is pulled out of the water; therefore, the rescue had to take place as quickly and as swiftly as possible.
The three were rushed to the hospital. In the ambulance, the EMT’s did what they could to safely warm them up. When they got to the hospital, the treatment continued. Because Maike and Stephen were adults, it was easier and safer for the doctors to treat them. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy for Julian. The only way for the doctors to treat Julian was to put him in a medically induced coma. His condition was very serious, and the doctors decided that they would put him in a coma to give his body a chance to rest. It was the only way to treat his condition.
Julian’s family refused to give up hope that he would make a full recovery. They sat by his bedside day after day, praying that he would wake up and be the same little boy that he was when he left to go fishing that day. The doctors told his family that he was in critical condition and that there were no guarantees. After being in the water for six hours, Julian was lucky to still be alive.
Finally, a few days after he was fished out of the ocean, Julian woke up. This 7-year-old boy who was in a sinking boat and spent 6 hours in freezing ocean wakes from
Julian his home now with his family, and he doesn’t seem to be too affected by what happened to him. His mother says that he is already asking his father when they are going to be able to go on the boat again. Maike says that he hasn’t had the heart yet to let Julian know that the boat was at the bottom of the ocean. He hopes to buy another boat soon so that he can take his son back out on the water. Maike says that he won’t be spending the night on his new boat in the beginning. It will be some time he recovers from what happened on the ocean that night.