This weekend on Sunday Night Seven replays a story from May on the sole remaining survivor from the MV Blythe Star, which sank off the coast of Tasmania in 1973.
Less than a day into a two-day voyage an Australian ship suddenly lists and takes on water at an alarming rate. One by one the 10 crew members are forced from their duties, others shaken awake to struggle through gushing saltwater onto the deck and into a flimsy rubber life raft before the MV Blythe Star sinks without a trace.
They’re relieved they made it, the worst is surely over and they expect rescuers will fish them out of their predicament within hours. Only nobody knows their ship has gone down, and little do the men of the MV Blythe Star know they’ve only just begun one of the most extraordinary against-the-odds struggles for survival.
It’s one of Australia’s greatest tales of survival, yet very few Australians know about this incredible high seas drama. Sunday Night brings this extraordinary story to life through the gripping recollection of the last man standing, Mick Doleman.
Mick – until recently a senior figure in the Maritime Union of Australia – has been reluctant to recount the detail of his ordeal, refusing to even reveal to his family the life-and-death challenges he and his crewmates faced.
Now, he’s the last survivor and Mick has resolved that he didn’t want to take his account to his grave. In honour of the men lost in this nightmare at sea and in the time since, he wants the nation to know of their bravery, humanity and their inspirational determination to survive and be reunited with family and friends.
Sunday Night’s Rahni Sadler tells the at times tragic but ultimately heroic and stirring story of the MV Blythe Star in The Last Survivor. And in a moving conclusion takes Mick and his family back to the remote and rugged landfall where he decided he and the remaining crew were not going to die.
Sunday at 7.00pm on Seven.