IT WAS about half an hour before the first help arrived. Huddled together in the dark waters of Sydney Harbour, three men and an eight-year-old boy made a break for land as their tiny fishing boat began sinking between Shark Island and Rose Bay.One man did not survive.But authorities said the tragedy could have been a lot worse if the passengers were not wearing life jackets and police had not acted so decisively.Water Police were on a standard patrol around Darling Harbour about 7.40 on Saturday night when they got a call that the cruising catamaran Matilda III had seen people in the water after their five-metre boat sank.In the next 10 to 15 minutes, as police approached, Senior Constable Brad Green, in police uniform, started taking his shoes off and took his phone out of his pocket, expecting a rescue.”I had a pretty rough idea I was going in,” he said.They found three men in the water. Two were clinging to a third who was unconscious.Crew from the Matilda III had been able to get the boy out of the water using a rope, but the others could not be lifted out. ”I jumped in and swam over and took hold of the unconscious male and swam him back to the back of the police boat, and then the other police that were on the boat pulled him up onto the back of the boat, and, then we started doing [resuscitation] on him,” Constable Green said.Police and a deckhand from the Matilda III performed CPR for 15 minutes and used a defibrillator. ”We gave it the best shot we could,” he said.Another police boat brought paramedics from Rose Bay to assist. However the 57-year-old man from Cabramatta could not be revived. The cause of his death has yet to be determined.The other men, both 49, were suffering from shock and mild hypothermia, while the boy was in good spirits after the rescue. He is believed to be the son of one of the men on board.It is not known what happened to the boat before it sank, but initial investigations suggest it began taking on water and when efforts to bail it out failed, the men tried to get to land.The Marine Area Commander, Acting Superintendent Joe McNulty, praised the group yesterday for wearing life jackets and having whistles to attract attention. Later they told police they could not swim. Superintendent McNulty called Constable Green’s actions courageous. ”Chivalry’s not dead,” he said. ”It’s difficult to [resuscitate] someone who’s been in the water for that long … it’s not a pleasant thing.”He said the other survivors were at home and healthy.A search yesterday for the vessel was not able to find it. Investigations into the sinking are continuing.with AAP