RACQ LifeFlight estimates deploying three helicopters in a search for a man thought to have fallen overboard cost the organisation more than $250,000.
RACQ LifeFlight estimates deploying three helicopters in a search for a man thought to have fallen overboard cost the organisation more than $250,000. Courtesy RACQ LifeFlight Rescue

'Missing' deckhand hospitalised after arriving on shore

A DECKHAND who was the subject of a large air and sea search after being thought to have fallen from a fishing boat has been hospitalised after arriving back on shore.

A police boat met Mooloolaba vessel Barameda-K as it returned to shore about 6pm Wednesday to pick up the 45-year-old Mooloolaba man who was subject of the 13-hour search.

Officers brought him back to shore where he was taken by ambulance to Sunshine Coast University Hospital for treatment.

The Daily understands the man did not have any physical injuries.

A Sunshine Coast Water Police officer said on Thursday morning that as far as he was aware, the man remained in hospital.

Wednesday's search of waters off Double Island Point started about 3am and included seven helicopters, two aeroplanes, two police boats and two Coastguard boats as well as two fishing boats.

The helicopters included three RACQ LifeFlight helicopters, which the organisation estimates cost more than $250,000.

The Sunshine Coast-based helicopter became involved about 3.45am, the Bundaberg-based helicopter was involved from about 7.30am and the Brisbane-based helicopter joined in after lunch.