Missing fisherman found on board vessel off Queensland coast
Sunshine Coast Water Police were advised shortly after 4pm on Wednesday the missing 45-year-old man had been found in a compartment on the boat, Brisbane Times reported.
The alarm was raised when the skipper noticed the 45-year-old Mooloolaba man was missing off the back deck of a commercial fishing vessel just before 2.30am.
The skipper had been searching for the man he knew well for hours during the air and sea search.
Police said the fisherman was not wearing a life jacket at the time and he and the skipper were the only members on board the commercial fishing vessel.
Police were notified just before 3am and an air and sea search was sparked, involving nine aircrafts and four vessels.
The search was under way less than an hour later.
Emergency services had been scouring waters 30 nautical miles offshore off Double Island Point, in the Cooloola Coast region, in search of the missing 45-year-old man.
Eight helicopters, two fixed-wing aircraft, one jet, two water police vessels, two fishing vessels and a Coast Guard vessel were all involved in the search, being co-ordinated by police.
Police initially said 11 aircraft and five vessels were on scene however, an update by Sunshine Coast Water Police Senior Constable Murray Lyon suggested the number of vehicles had decreased.
He said seven helicopters, two fixed-wing aircrafts and four vessels were part of the search.
Senior Constable Lyon said conditions were fine until the afternoon when the wind picked up during the search.
"At this stage conditions have been reasonable although they are starting to deteriorate," he said.
"There are obviously great fears held for his safety having been in the water for so long and searches are continuing.
"We have had the assistance of Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra and that has helped because the search area is growing exponentially and is now up around 133 square miles due to drift and water movements."
Senior Constable Lyon said the skipper was worried for his crew member and police were told there was no chance of a floatation device being thrown in the water because he had not seen the man fall overboard.
"He’s been involved with the search today and basically since 2.30 this morning, he’s been out there working in the search area," he said.
"He knows the man so I haven't been able to speak to him at this stage, communication has been difficult because you’re right on the edge of phone contact, but it’s obviously been very hard on him.
"Any time you're working on the water in those conditions for long hours yes it can be dangerous but we don't have a huge amount of these incidents.
"We’re very fortunate in that regard and hopefully we’ll be able to resolve this."
About one hour after Mr Lyon addressed the media with the update, police had released a statement about the discovery of the man.
"Water Police will travel to the vessel this afternoon to speak to the man and determine the circumstances surrounding this incident," they said.
"All search assets have now been stood down." ■