Sydney, Feb 28 : An Australian fisherman, who, along with his two mates, went missing after their fishing boat sank off the northern New South Wales coast has been found alive after up to 30 hours in the water.
The 41-year-old man was spotted by a Queensland rescue helicopter crew, which plucked him from the ocean about 15km north-east of Ballina and rushed him to Ballina Hospital.
A hospital spokesman said that the man is in a stable condition and is "undergoing treatment and ongoing assessment."
Queensland Rescue spokesman Andy Christie said he had spoken to the helicopter crew who found him.
"The crew said that he was talking, he was conscious - physically appeared to be okay ... but they were quick to point out that he had spent a very cold night in the water," News.com.au quoted Christie, as saying.
A massive search was launched after another crewmember was found on a beach near Brunswick Heads on Feb 27, after swimming about 12 hours to land.
It is believed the men's trawler, which operates from Brunswick Heads, may have sunk after hitting a reef before dawn on Feb 27.
Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter spokesman Roger Fry said the ability of two men to survive gave hope to search crews that they would find the third alive.
"Judging that the second fisherman survived through the night ... we can only hope that the same has occurred with the third," Fry said.