Grave fears for missing Port Douglas man as search continues
Local police, SES, and Cairns Water Police recommenced search operations at first light this morning for a missing man believed to have fallen into the Dickson Inlet after suffering a medical episode.
The 59-year-old man was reported missing by a family member on Friday, 1 May.
Acting Superintendent Mark Lingwood said police have CCTV vision of the man walking along a jetty, falling off the end and being washed away by the current in a very high tide.
“We will continue to search however experts advise that it’s highly unlikely that we’ll find him alive,” Acting Superintendent Lingwood said.
Port Douglas Station Officer-in-Charge, Sergeant Damian Meadows, said the man was last seen on CCTV footage and by members of the public on 9 April.
“Given the time frame, the search area is quite considerable, however, the facts of tidal flow enabled police to narrow that down to a confined area,” Sgt Meadows said.
“Search operations were conducted at this particular time because the weather and tidal conditions were very similar to the last known date the missing person was cited.”
Police were unable to locate the man but did find a number of items including a pair of matching thongs floating in the water that may assist with the investigation.
“Information that we did obtain from today's search will establish a search area that we need to concentrate on for further operations.”
Sgt Meadows said the time frame the man has been missing and his pre-existing medical condition will impact the chances of survivability.
“What we’re probably doing at the moment is looking for some closure for the family.”
Police believe the man, who had epilepsy, has fallen off the Pontoon at the Port Douglas Yacht Club with his small tender boat left tied up there.
The man had on a previous occasion suffered a medical episode and fallen into the water, however, members of the Yacht club had been around to pull him out.
Despite being crocodile-infested waters police do not believe the man was taken by a crocodile.
“We are not overly concerned about the possibility of a crocodile attack, there are Estuarine Crocodiles within the Dickson Inlet but there is no indication that that is the case,” Sgt Meadows said.
The man who lived on a vessel opposite the Port Douglas Yacht Club is being remembered as a “true salty” who loved the water.
“He was very experienced in and around the water,” Sgt Meadows said.
Members of a specialised Dive Squad will arrive in Port Douglas on Friday to conduct further search operations.
Police urge anyone with any further information to contact local police or Crime Stoppers.
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