Boat drama couple find their lifesavers

Marc Johnson and Zen Joyce (left) saved the lives of Craig and Jackie O'Neill when their boat capsized in choppy waters off of the Croatian coast.
Marc Johnson and Zen Joyce (left) saved the lives of Craig and Jackie O'Neill when their boat capsized in choppy waters off of the Croatian coast.
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Two heroes who saved the lives of a Lancashire couple from drowning on holiday in Croatia have been found.

Australian lifesavers Zen Joyce and Marc Johnson pulled Craig and Jackie O’Neill to safety after their boat capsized on a journey back to Hvar, Croatia, after a day out on the nearby Paklinski Islands.

Zen Joyce and Marc Johnson

Zen Joyce and Marc Johnson

Their boat overturned, throwing Craig, Jackie, along with friends Jay and Helen - who are all from Leyland - into choppy waters where they feared for their lives.

Over the weekend the Post helped the couple appeal to find the lifesavers and Craig has now been contacted by one of the two after the story went viral.

Dad-of-two Craig, 42, said: “Marc messaged me out of the blue. I had a good chat and we’re going to meet up soon. It was really cool to get the full story.

“Marc and Zen did something amazing. It was a crazy, amazing and terrible situation – they saved my life.”

The sea between Hvar and the Paklinski Islands in which the four holiday-goers from Leyland capsized their boat.

The sea between Hvar and the Paklinski Islands in which the four holiday-goers from Leyland capsized their boat.

Zen, who has been used to choppy water from a young age through surfing, was the one who swam to Craig and Jackie and brought them back to the boat. It was then that Marc jumped in to help them get onboard.

Speaking to the Post, Zen said: “It’s great that they found me – it was very kind of them to go to the effort of looking. It was very heart-warming to hear from them.”

Marc, who is from Melbourne, said: "The only thought I had was what if that was me and people watched me and did nothing?

"Even if things turned worse I still think we would of done the same thing as it's in the way I have been brought up by my parents, to help others in need."

L-R: Jay Cartwright, Helen Wilson, Craig O'Neill, and Jackie O'Neill were thrown into the sea when their boat capsized.

L-R: Jay Cartwright, Helen Wilson, Craig O'Neill, and Jackie O'Neill were thrown into the sea when their boat capsized.

Craig revealed that Zen and Marc weren’t even meant to be on the excursion boat that picked up Craig, Jackie, and Jay. The duo only happened to stay longer due to having such a good time on the islands.

Craig said: “Marc is in London from October 16 so all four of us are trying to go down to meet him.

“Zen is in the country from December too so we will do the same then. I can’t wait to have a beer with them.”

After appearing in the Post, Craig and Jackie’s ordeal has been picked up by newspapers around the world.