Family forced to shelter on boat for more than 10 hours as wildfires sweep through Australian town of Mallacoota 

A family of nine was forced to shelter on a boat as wildfires swept through the town of Mallacoota, Australia on Tuesday (December 31).

The family evacuated to the town's jetty in the early hours of the morning and spent the night near the water before getting on a boat.

The filmer, Nataly Westcott, told Newsflare they slept by the water "until the sky got too scary and we got on the boat".

"We were at the boat at 2am (December 31), boarded at 6am with the change (of wind), when we knew it would be dangerous, and took the boat into Mallacoota inlet with lots of other boats, many had gone out before nightfall the day before. Pitch black day into night!

"There were nine of us, plus the dog. Sheltering on the boat we thought was our safest option.

"It should have been full daylight but the smoke made it dark as midnight. We had to be very careful not to collide with other boats. Without the sounder we would have been in danger of running aground."

The family eventually returned to the jetty after spending more than 10 hours at sea. 

Footage filmed on December 31 shows the boat in Mallacoota inlet and the family returning to the shore around 5pm.

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By: NewsFlare (74343.00)

Tags: Family, forced, to, shelter, on, boat, wildfires