A FAMILY boating trip in Port Fairy ended in tragedy yesterday when a couple died after their vessel capsized in rough surf.
The Warrnambool family of three had been out on the bay when the engine cut out on their small four-metre aluminium boat.
The son, 43, jumped into the ocean and began swimming to shore to raise the alarm while his parents remained on board.
But the boat drifted before capsizing 50 metres offshore, throwing the pair into the ocean about 600 metres south of the town's golf course.
Police said the woman, aged 60, and a man, aged 65, both suffered cardiac arrests and died at the scene.
Ambulance Victoria Warrnambool team manager Tim Fraser said three teams of paramedics rushed to the beach and attempted to revive the couple shortly after 3pm.
A team from the Warrnambool ambulance rescue helicopter also landed in the sand dunes to assist.
''Both had been dragged from the water,'' Mr Fraser said.
''Two patients were in cardiac arrest and officers went through normal cardiac arrest protocols and unfortunately they were both pronounced dead at the scene.''
Mr Fraser said the third patient was transferred to Warrnambool Base Hospital for observation.
Warrnambool Police acting Senior Sergeant Pat McKinnon said the family tried to alert other vessels of its distress but was unsuccessful.
Although ocean conditions were not rough, the vessel entered the breaking waves close to shore. He said both victims were wearing lifejackets.
''They turned the engine off and were adrift … one of the occupants of the boat tried to swim to the shore to get help, but the boat drifted into the waves and overturned,'' Senior Sergeant McKinnon said.
Surfers nearby rushed to the aid of the couple.