Police divers find no signs of Port Douglas missing man
SEARCH CALLED OFF
A report will be prepared for the coroner after police divers today failed to locate any further signs of a 59-year-old man missing in waters off Port Douglas since 9 April.
Allan “Cookie” Cook was reported missing by family on 1 May prompting police and SES crews to conduct an extensive search.
CCTV footage captured the man falling off a pontoon at the Port Douglas Yacht Club into the Dickson Inlet and being washed away by the current in a very high tide after suffering what is believed to have been a medical episode.
Port Douglas Station Officer-in-Charge, Sergeant Damian Meadows, said a dive operation was conducted today in the location around the pontoon where Mr Cook was last seen.
“Divers were quite surprised at how firm the base of the Dickson Inlet was which would go against the view of snagging or trapping the missing person on the bottom,” he said.
“So as a result of tidal flow and the time frame that we are dealing with, there is a very high likelihood that the missing man was swept out to sea.
“We are now going to close down the search and recovery phase of this investigation until we get further information and we will now be commencing a report for the coroner. The next of kin have been advised.”
Police divers were able to conduct their search in the Dickson Inlet despite being crocodile-infested water by deploying a weighted net around the focus area.
“They dive within that barrier and we also utilise two emergency response personal in an overwatch role. They are located with some high powered weapons in the off chance they are required," Sgt Meadows said.
“We also had some assistance from the Department of Environment and Science, they were on scene with us today. They did a survey last night to see how many crocodiles were in habitation and only spotted a couple of mid-size crocs.”
Mr Cook’s friend of 21 years, Garry White, has remembered him as a happy go lucky man.
“He was a good bloke,” he said.
“He would do anything for you, if you needed a hand he would put his hand up."
Mr White identified Mr Cook in the CCTV footage of the incident and said it was horrifying but was over quickly.
“From the footage, you can see he was in the grip of a fit and he just went off the end of the pontoon.
“Mercifully it was quick,” he said.
Mr Cook suffered from epilepsy as a result of injuries from a car accident in his 20s and had twice previously fallen into the water while having an episode.
“This time there was no one to pull him out,” Mr White said.
Despite his medical condition, Mr Cook had been living on a boat in the Dickson Inlet for many years.
“Living on the water was his dream and he was living his dream,” Mr White said.
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