Three men were winched from the water by CareFlight’s rescue helicopter and flown to safety after their boat capsized 40km north of Darwin this morning.

The men departed from Darwin yesterday evening bound for Gove but ran into trouble in this morning’s strong wind and swells, with the boat increasingly taking on water as the weather deteriorated.

The crew decided to head back towards shore while continuing to pump and bail water from the 11 metre cabin cruiser. But when the boat took on too much water, the men put on their safety gear, put all their drinking water into a drum, grabbed three buoys which they tied together, tied themselves to each other and the buoys and headed into the water.

The CareFlight Top End Rescue Helicopter was tasked at 9.30am after the men set off an emergency beacon, alerting the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The helicopter crew was quickly able to locate the distressed men.

Overhead, CareFlight’s rescue team lowered a raft down for the three men. The crew then winched each person into the into the helicopter.

Uninjured, the men were all assessed to be in good health by CareFlight’s medical team on the helicopter. They were airlifted to CareFlight’s base in Darwin and given showers, dry clothes and hot drinks.