These teenagers were only saved by a miracle after they were found on a desert island.
Four teenagers spent the night crammed onto two paddle boards while lost at sea as they were swept away by strong currents to a small island 20 kilometres away from their departure point.
The two male and two female teenagers, aged from 18 to 19, were using two inflatable paddle boards off Rosebud Beach on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula on Monday afternoon, when they became caught in strong tides.
Their belongings, including mobile phones and a car, were found abandoned on the beach by a passerby at about 8 pm and the group was declared missing shortly after.
A major search operation was launched for the group, who had travelled to Rosebud to celebrate finishing their final school exams.
Victoria Police confirmed all four had been found on Swan Island on the opposite side of Port Phillip Bay soon after 9am on Tuesday.
Swan Island off Queenscliff is controlled by the Department of Defence and the group was found by a routine security patrol.
Two of the teenagers were airlifted to the hospital, while the other two were taken by ambulance. All four are stable and have not sustained any serious injuries.
Footage showed one woman wrapped in a blanket as she was escorted into an ambulance.
Victoria Police Acting Superintendent Terence Rowlands said the group were found by security staff who were on a ‘routine walk’ around the island.
‘They (the teens) were very cold and very relieved to be on dry land,’ he told reporters.
‘Luck has a lot to do with it.’
After their belongings were found, specialist police had immediately scoured the area for the group but the search was halted at 4am on Tuesday due to deteriorating conditions.
The search resumed on Tuesday morning, with water police, rescue boats and helicopters all involved.
Acting Inspector Ian Pregnell said the loved ones of the teens were overcome with emotion upon hearing the good news.
‘It was quite an emotional time for the families, all too often these things usually end in tragedy so one might say this is a Christmas miracle,’ he told 3AW.
Director of Gone Fishing Charters, Chris Vasilevski, who frequents the area, said the wind had kicked up to about 25knots on Monday night, the equivalent to 46km/hour.
‘The east wind for around that area is probably one of the worst because there is no protection at all,’ he told the radio program.
The father of one of the men, Jack Shi, who had been waiting on the shore of the beach for any updates, said he was frustrated the search had not resumed by 7.30am.
‘We have been waiting here since yesterday evening, we really appreciate all the help but we hope this can be noticed by more people to help,’ he said.
It is not known what time the group went missing.
It’s unknown if the teens, who live in the Glen Waverley area, in Melbourne’s east, were wearing life jackets.
The search extended as far as Bass Strait at the entrance to Port Phillip Bay.
One man who was walking his dog along the beach on Tuesday morning said he had seen a yellow tent a fair way out on the sand the night before.
Conditions at the beach worsened over Tuesday morning with the wind picking up and the water visibly choppy.