American tourist rescued in Australia after long night at sea

The American tourist has been traveling along the Queensland coast and Great Barrier Reef for about three years. (Reuters)
Updated 23 November 2018

American tourist rescued in Australia after long night at sea

An American tourist was rescued off Australia’s northeast coast on Thursday after his boat capsized, forcing him to spend a cold and lonely night on his overturned vessel as it drifted on the tide.
Levi Verwoest, 29, was sailing his 23-foot catamaran ‘Isis’ 40 kilometers off the Queensland coast on Wednesday evening when he realized the vessel was taking on water.
Within minutes, the boat capsized, but Verwoest was able to activate his emergency locator beacon, or EPIRB, only the next morning, after 12 hours of staying adrift.
A helicopter from the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ) soon winched Verwoest from the hull of his overturned boat.
“Without that emergency beacon the poor bloke faced a much longer and more dangerous wait in the water for either a passing boat to see him or to be reported missing,” RACQ rescuer Arno Schoonwinkle was quoted in a media release as saying.
The tourist, who is from Hawaii and has been traveling along the Queensland coast and Great Barrier Reef for about three years, was not hurt.
He lost all his belongings though, including his passport and his catamaran but was calm as he spoke to the media.
“It was just irritating mostly,” Verwoest said of the ordeal.
“If I didn’t have the EPIRB I’d still be drifting out there and hoping someone sailed past.”


WikiLeaks founder Assange due in court to fight extradition

Updated 2 min 38 sec ago

WikiLeaks founder Assange due in court to fight extradition

  • The 48-year-old Australian is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a case management hearing
  • The case is expected to take months to resolve, with each side able to make several appeals of rulings

LONDON: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is expected to appear in court as he fights extradition to the United States on charges of conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer.
The 48-year-old Australian is set to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court for a case management hearing. Former Home Secretary Sajid Javid signed an order in June allowing Assange to be extradited.
US authorities accuse Assange of scheming with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to break a password for a classified government computer.
The case is expected to take months to resolve, with each side able to make several appeals of rulings.
The public gallery was jammed with Assange supporters, and outside the courthouse others carried placards calling for Assange to be released.
Assange has been in Belmarsh Prison on the outskirts of London while the extradition case is being prepared. He is facing a number of serious charges including espionage.
The first extended hearing is set for early next year but may be delayed.
Assange claims he is a journalist entitled to First Amendment protection.