Hervey Bay Water Police search for a missing man off the coast from Yeppoon.
Hervey Bay Water Police search for a missing man off the coast from Yeppoon.

Search for yachtsman missing near Yeppoon called off

THE SEARCH for a 71-year-old man who was reported missing from a yacht sailing out from Yeppoon has been called off, despite no body being found.

It is understood the search was called off on Tuesday night.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said there was "no further plans for patrol".

The man, from New South Wales, was last seen aboard a 15m sailing yacht at Cato Reef in the Coral Sea out from Yeppoon.

The alarm was raised after his 23 year old passenger woke up to find he was alone on the boat.

A recovery operation was launched about 260 nautical miles east of Yeppoon.

Water police officers and the dive squad were involved, along with an aerial search.

The police vessel, Lyle M Hoey, a 24 metre catamaran, departed Yeppoon at 6am on Sunday morning however due to the remote location, they arrived at the scene of interest at 5am Monday.

"Unfortunately the area out near Cato Reef is an extremely isolated location which means it take vessels a long time to get there. That means anyone in the water has to survive for a longer period of time for rescue vessels to arrive," Officer in Charge of Hervey Bay Water Police Sergeant Paul Bacon said.

The police vessel later escorted the yacht to Hervey Bay on Tuesday night.

It is believed the New South Wales men departed Scarborough (Redcliffe) last Tuesday, December 10 and travelled to the Cato Island and Cato Reef area.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.
- Vanessa Jarrett


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