SES volunteers search one of the inlets in Corio Bay for missing fisherman Mal Goldfinch (inset) yesterday.
SES volunteers search one of the inlets in Corio Bay for missing fisherman Mal Goldfinch (inset) yesterday. Chris Ison

No clues in missing fisherman case

THE search for missing fisherman Andrew "Mal" Goldfinch has failed to yield any clues today.

An air, land and sea search of the Corio Bay area for the commercial angler resumed at first light this morning.

Mr Goldfinch's swag was found about 9km upstream yesterday afternoon from where his boat was found on Wednesday.

Mystery surrounds the disappearance of the well-known Yeppoon commercial fisherman with authorities last night holding grave concerns for his life.

The 48-year-old’s boat was found stranded in mangroves on Wednesday.

Police are keeping an open mind into the circumstances surrounding Mr Goldfinch’s disappearance and have not ruled out the possibility he was taken by a crocodile or shark.

However, police confirmed there was nothing at this stage to indicate foul play.

Speculation was yesterday rife among members of the fishing community that cast concerns for his safety relating to text messages sent shortly before his disappearance.

Several Morning Bulletin sources said they had heard one of Mr Goldfinch’s final messages was along the following lines: “There’s two of them watching me, I have my eyes on them.”

Police would not comment on those claims, but did confirm text messages had been sent by Mr Goldfinch. They refused to reveal the contents.

Though he was expected to return home on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Goldfinch’s family and close friends are understood to be holding onto the belief he is still alive.

Mr Goldfinch is described as a passionate commercial fisherman, well liked and respected in the fishing community and who had extensive knowledge of the area and was a strong swimmer.

Local fishermen yesterday confirmed multiple sightings of bull sharks and large crocodiles in the area, though a reptile expert said it was highly unlikely a crocodile would have been involved.

More than 30 SES, police and the rescue helicopter took part in the search of the Corio Bay area and nearby Nine Mile Beach yesterday.

Mr Goldfinch is believed to have gone out on his 4.7m boat on Tuesday and was last seen at Kelly’s Landing in his boat about 4pm that day.

Rockhampton police Inspector Mike Curtin said authorities were putting all available resources into the search.

“He was not well dressed for the cold weather,” Insp Curtin said.

A member of the public had noticed the boat in mangroves about 7am on Wednesday and raised the alarm when it was still there at 4pm.

The boat is being mechanically tested.

Mr Goldfinch’s car, a white Toyota Hilux, has been located.

Police are appealing for anyone who can help to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

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