FIVE aircraft will this morning resume the search for a 79-year-old South Mackay man who failed to return from a fishing trip to Prudhoe Island on Friday.
The man left the Sarina boat ramp on Thursday morning around 8.30am for an overnight fishing trip in his 5.2 metre vessel.
A police spokesman said he “checked in” on Thursday night but failed to return on Friday and had not been seen since.
Whitsunday Water Police Senior Constable Neil MacMillan said the search, which began on Saturday, had been hampered by bad weather.
Rough seas had prevented boats from joining yesterday’s search and poor visability and rain squalls had made it difficult for aircraft, he said.
However, police had not given up hope and another search would resume at first light this morning, he said.
“We’re always hopeful,” Snr Const MacMillan said.
“We’ve found no evidence of him or his vessel at this stage, which is very unusual.
“We’re still hopeful we’ll find something.”
The RACQ-CQ Rescue crew spent Saturday afternoon searching around Prudhoe Island, Sarina Inlet and the Beverley group of islands for the man, who is believed to have a known heart condition.
It was later joined by a fixed-wing Dornier aircraft from Cairns.
Volunteer Marine Rescue crews joined the search on Saturday and were on standby yesterday, but not called upon due to the rough weather, a spokesman said.
The RACQ CQ RESCUE helicopter searched an area around Prudhoe Island, Sarina Inlet and the Beverley Group of Islands for two and a half hours before returning to Mackay Airport to refuel.
They were then re-tasked by AUSSAR and have since been joined in the aerial search by the fixed wing Dornier from Cairns. Volunteer Marine Rescue crews are also searching the area.
Current search area lies between Slade Point and Knight Island. The helicopter rescue crew will search until last light or until approximately 7pm. While conditions have not been ideal over the past day or so, RACQ CQ RESCUE Air Crewman Darren Bobin reports the winds are currently 10-15 knots and visibility is good.
Anyone with information which could assist police with their investigations should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day.
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