An Australian fisherman has been rescued after surviving a horrific 25 hours in the water in cyclonic conditions.

James Palmer, 20, survived mountainous swells whipped up by tropical Cyclone Hamish after first his trawler and then his life-raft capsized.

As he floundered in the water after being thrown out of the life-raft, he grabbed what he thought was a passing stick. Miraculously it turned out to be an emergency distress beacon, which would save his life.

Switching it on, he managed to stay afloat for a day and night before Queensland rescuers, hampered by appalling weather conditions, found him 125 miles from shore and brought him to safety.

Palmer's remarkable survival stunned rescuers from the RACQ-Central Queensland helicopter service.

"He was incredibly lucky," crewman Darren Bobin told The Times. "By the time we got to him the swell was up to 10 feet but he would have gone through much bigger seas than that while he was drifting."

Two of Palmer's fellow crew-members from the Hervey Bay based trawler MBC remain missing, however, and hopes that they are still alive are quickly fading.

"We're still hopeful until all hope is lost," said Valerie Tyndall, mother of Tony Tyndall, one of the two crewmembers still lost as sea. "If they don't find them, I just hope whatever happened to them happened quickly and they didn't suffer."

Click here to read more on this story from the Times of London.