Men stranded in mangroves

Last updated 20:18 10/02/2014

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Four men have spent 14 hours sheltering in trees above crocodile-infested mangroves in far north Western Australia after a fishing trip turned nasty.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination  Centre scrambled into action over the weekend, after receiving a signal from an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB).

The unregistered beacon was first activated around 8pm on Sunday  - but no location could be pinpointed for nearly an hour, until a  subsequent signal placed them around 18 nautical miles north of  Derby.

After it was established the four men were overdue after going  fishing in a small boat earlier in the day, severe weather in the  area and the impending darkness made it impossible for aircraft or  vessels to set off.

About 6.30am on Monday, a helicopter took advantage of a brief  break in the weather to successfully locate the men - having spent  14 hours sheltering up mangrove trees in the crocodile habitat.

Authorities say that if the emergency beacon had been  registered, it would have allowed the rescue centre to contact next  of kin and develop a search area even without a location from the  beacon.

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- AAP

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