The Westpac chopper was sent out to locate the distress beacon.
The Westpac chopper was sent out to locate the distress beacon.

Boat sinks off Kingscliff, sparks air search mission

A BOAT that sunk off Kingscliff caused quite a stir at the weekend.

About 7.40pm the Westpac Rescue Helicopter was tasked by Australian Search And Rescue (AUSSAR) to search for an activated beacon.

It was tracked to a location about nine nautical miles off the Kingscliff coast.

"Location verified by visual sighting of the white strobe," a Westpac Rescue Helicopter spokeswoman said.

"AUSSAR advised a boat had sunk earlier in that location with persons already accounted for by another boat."

Crew chief Roger Fry said the signal sent from the beacon would have been heard by planes flying across the Pacific Ocean.

"It gets detected and triangulated," he said.

"The boat team located the beacon and turned it off."

Mr Fry said there were three people on board the vessel but they had been picked up by another boat earlier in the day and were unharmed.