One of the four teenagers found alive after spending a night at sea on a paddleboard has spoken about how the group managed to survive their ordeal.
An 18-year-old woman, two 18-year-old men and a 19-year-old woman were found alive on Swan Island on Tuesday morning after paddleboarding from Rosebud Beach on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula on Monday.
Rong Shi, 18, spoke to the ABC about how the group miraculously survived the night at sea.
“There was a point where we were really tired,” he said.
“When I closed my eyes, I felt like I couldn’t feel my hands were still attached to my nerves. It still feels like a dream to me. [I] can’t believe we made it – if you look back, it’s really, it’s a miracle.
“We found out that we really couldn’t turn direction so we just decided to stay on board and do nothing, to keep some energy.
“There was a point that it was really hard because we could see the helicopters and boats searching for us.”
According to Shi, the teens bound their paddleboards together so they didn’t lose each other to the water. They ultimately travelled more than 20km together.
Once on Swan Island, the group managed to find a storage hut where they took refuge from the cold and were rescued by security guards on the island.
Ambulance Victoria confirmed the four teens were taken to Geelong Hospital with no visible injuries.
Four missing teenagers found alive on Swan Island, after they left paddle boarding from Rosebud beach pic.twitter.com/GsDQezWpka
— Natasha May (@natasha__may) December 19, 2022
One of the fathers of the missing teens told Sunrise the group went to Rosebud Beach after completing their final Year 12 exams. Truly nothing is more joyous than a celebration swim with mates.
“It was believed they’d been out on an inflatable paddleboard, the four of them. From there, the alert was raised,” Acting Inspector Daniel Pregnell told ABC radio.
A passerby walking on Rosebud beach at 8pm Monday saw the missing teens’ belongings and reported them to police. A massive search began but was paused at 4am Tuesday due to poor conditions. The search began again at about 8am and police said rescuers searched the entire bay.
Family of missing teenagers here at Rosebud beach waiting for full scale search to resume. Two teenage boys and two teenage girls still missing after going paddle boarding yesterday. Incredibly difficult for these parents. @TheTodayShow pic.twitter.com/FdtI0EEjFV
— Izabella Staskowski (@IzaStaskowski) December 19, 2022
Police told 3AW Radio on Tuesday the teens were from Glen Waverley in Melbourne’s east.