Search continues for fisherman missing off Innisfail


Police and emergency services are continuing their search today for a 55-year-old Tolga fisherman missing in waters off Innisfail.

Police today confirmed the search has entered its third day with emergency services intending to saturate the area with grave concerns for his safety.

The man was reported missing on Tuesday afternoon after his boat (pictured) was located by kayakers drifting unattended at the mouth of the Johnstone River, which is known crocodile habitat.

A search of the coastline commenced covering a 250 square nautical mile area off the coast of Innisfail involving water police, Volunteer Coast Guard, helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, however, the man has yet to be located.

Far North Police Inspector, Denis Fitzpatrick, said the man put his boat in at Mourilyan Harbour, 14km south of Innisfail, by himself at approximately 6:00am on Tuesday with the intention of going out to the reef.

“We can’t confirm he has made it to the reef or any circumstances at this point surrounding his disappearance, so we are searching, suspecting that he has fallen into the water,” he said.

“There is nothing in this regard, to make us suspect any medical issue might have caused this to occur.”

The alarm was raised by the man’s next of kin that afternoon when he failed to return as anticipated at about 4pm.

Inspector Fitzpatrick said there was no indication on board that the man had done any fishing that day.

“We believe he was an experienced fisherman, but we have some information that he hasn’t been fishing or using this particular vessel for a couple of years.

Police are appealing to any boat users who were in the area prior to 6.40pm Tuesday who observed a white 5.6-metre Bar Crusher vessel with a maroon stripe and a Suzuki outboard motor to contact police.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

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