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Thursday, November 24, 2011

55 Stranded Residents evacuated by Jetski as they Became Stranded on a Beach by Bushfires, Australia - 24th Nov 2011

Fifty-five people stranded on a beach overnight on Wednesday had to be rescued by jetski after a huge bushfire swept through their coastal town in Western Australia.

WA's Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) confirmed late on Thursday afternoon (WST) that the stranded residents, from the coastal town of Prevelly, had been ferried by jetski from their local beach to a waiting search and rescue craft offshore.

From there, they were taken to nearby Gracetown, just up the coast, from where they were bussed to an emergency welfare centre in the main rallying town of Margaret River.

A DEC spokesman said the sea rescue effort was successful, with no one injured.

More than 200 Prevelly residents had been forced to flee to their local beach after the fire raged out of control from the nearby Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, about 280km south of Perth, on Wednesday morning (WST).

One of the stranded residents, Surfpoint Backpacker's Hostel manager Will Carter, said the 55 who were rescued on Thursday afternoon had elected to stay, after others were evacuated from the beach by police on Wednesday night.

"What happened last night was everyone was forcefully evacuated by the police at about 7pm (WST)," Mr Carter said.

"And those that didn't leave due to the forceful evacuation had to be evacuated today from the beach by jetski. Read More