High altitude training and superior oxygen levels helped him cope with the situation better

Dual international Mat Rogers was “gripped by terror” as a Gold Coast boat cruise with former rugby league teammates and friends almost ended in tragedy at the weekend.

Rogers was one of 10 people, including two children, on a 10-metre boat with former Titans teammate Greg Bird, TV personality Matt Johns and international cyclist Robbie McEwen, when passengers began losing consciousness after inhaling toxic carbon monoxide fumes.

The passengers were inhaling the undetectable gas from exhaust fumes building up in the boat and six of the nine on board, including Johns and Bird, collapsed.

He and McEwen are being hailed as heroes after rescuing a passenger who fell overboard during the drama.

“There was a time on the boat I felt terrified and powerless to do anything,” the recently retired rugby league star told AAP on Wednesday.

“I was pretty messed up for a time. I slipped off my chair and ended up on the ground but I don’t think I lost complete consciousness.

“It was frightening.

“I was standing there thinking `what’s happening, what’s happening’, it was like something out of a movie.

“I remember I had my phone in my hand and I was looking at it wondering what I was going to do with it, I couldn’t even make a phone call.”

Despite his confused state, Rogers leapt into the water to help a man who’d fallen off the back of the boat after blacking out just off Sanctuary Cove.

He and McEwen, whose high altitude training and superior oxygen levels helped him cope with the situation better than other passengers, kept the unconscious passenger’s head above water until help arrived.

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