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Boy Rescued After Clinging To Buckets At Sea Wakes From Coma

A seven-year-old boy who spent hours in freezing waters clinging to buckets after the boat he was on capsized has awoken from an induced coma.

Julian Hohnen was rescued along with his dad, Maike, and his dad's friend Stephen Jeacoocke after a fishing trip off the Sunshine Coast almost turned deadly.

The trio was sleeping on their five-metre fishing boat on Saturday night, when it began taking on water and rolled at about 1.30am. They managed to escape but were not able to activate the ship's emergency beacon. They were also not wearing life jackets at the time, and instead spent six hours clinging to a couple of buckets to stay afloat.

capsize rescue
The rescue operation. Photo: Marine Rescue Bribie Island 445 / Facebook.

By pure chance, a crew member on a passing ship noticed them, sparking an incredible rescue. Nine search vehicles, including boats, helicopters and a search plane, were deployed in the middle of the night to try and find the group, locating them four hours later just before 8am.

"It's very lucky that all three were found alive," police said.

The men were taken to shore by boat and treated by paramedics, but Julian was airlifted to the Sunshine Coast University Hospital before being transferred to the Queensland Children's Hospital. He was placed in an induced coma.

On Monday night, Julian was reported to be awake and was speaking to his parents.

Julian and his dad Maike are both recovering after their ordeal. Photo: Facebook.

"Our son has improved significantly today and is now in a stable condition and talking to us," his parents said in a statement.

"This is a testament to his fighting spirit."

Julian remains in hospital, with his family focused on his recovery.

"He still requires further assessment, but his improvement today has given us hope," his parents said.

Contact the author: abrucesmith@networkten.com.au