A 31-YEAR-OLD man, who was reported missing at sea on Monday, was found yesterday morning.
The Bucasia fisherman spent the night in a dory, near Square Reef, 80 nautical miles NE of Mackay.
A Mackay police spokesman said the man was reported missing at 7.30pm on Monday after failing to return to a commercial fishing boat, which prompted an aerial search overnight.
Four aircraft were involved in the search, including Mackay's RACQ-CQ Rescue helicopter and a search and rescue plane from Cairns.
Heat-seeking equipment was used to try and locate the man.
"He got disoriented yesterday when a rain squall went through," a police spokesman said.
"He couldn't see the boat any more.
"He deployed an anchor... and stayed within 40 nautical miles of the mother ship."
The man heard aircraft searching for him last night and deployed a flare, however, it wasn't seen due to poor visibility, the spokesman said.
He deployed another couple of flares this morning before discovering an EPIRB, which he activated at 8.15am, he said.
He was located by an aircraft at 8.30am and a boat was sent to pick him up.
Inspector Rohan Burke of Mackay police said he understood all appropriate safety equipment was onboard. He encouraged people to learn how, and know when, to use it.
"The message to get out there is to activate the EPIRB early or sooner rather than later," Insp Burke said.
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