TRAGEDY: A 35-year-old man has gone missing from the Night Crossing fishing charter off the Yeppoon coast.
TRAGEDY: A 35-year-old man has gone missing from the Night Crossing fishing charter off the Yeppoon coast.

Search for deck hand impacted by tough conditions

UPDATE 1.30PM: THE search for a 35-year-old deck hand who vanished from a charter boat off the Central Queensland coast continues with rough weather hindering the operation.

Two police vessels and a commercial boat have been searching a 96km by 138km area near Swain Reefs for the Sunshine Coast man since first light this morning. 

Night Crossing had been undertaking a week-long fishing charter from Yeppoon when the boat's skipper reported the man missing at 4am on Sunday morning.

A search was mounted that day involving four aircraft, three commercial vessels, six dories and a water police boat.

7 News have reported the man to be Jeffrey Costa, one of four crew on-board, but this is currently unable to be confirmed by police.

Rough weather in the search area would be making today's search and rescue operation at Swain Reefs difficult, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Showers are pushing through and are expected to hang around for the next day or so due to a trough that has formed near the search area.

Forecaster Michael Paech said the 15-20 knot winds in the area were enough to make a search and rescue operation "very uncomfortable" but were not strong enough to trigger a marine wind warning.

The wind is expected to remain at that level until it eases off around Wednesday.

MONDAY, 8.45AM: THREE boats are currently involved in the search for 35-year-old deck hand who went missing in rough seas at 2am on Sunday morning, 200km north-east of Yeppoon.

The search for the Sunshine Coast man has been scaled back with yesterday afternoon's operation involving four aircraft, three commercial vessels, six dories and a water police boat scouring a massive 96km by 138km area.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said two police boats and one civilian boat were currently involved in a search of the same area, but there was no suggestion aircraft would be used.

Four crew members and 17 passengers were reportedly aboard the 23m charter boat, Night Crossing, from Gladstone for a week-long fishing trip.

Crew members sparked the search near Swain Reefs after they notified police about 4am Saturday the man was missing. He had not been seen since 2am.

7 News reported the missing man to be Jeffrey Costa, but this is unable to be confirmed by police at this stage.   

MONDAY, 6.40AM: A SEARCH and rescue operation was to resume "at first light" today for a 35-year-old man missing in rough seas 200km north-east of Yeppoon.

A police spokesman said the aerial search for the Sunshine Coast local was suspended overnight and emergency services would this morning re-allocate resources to the "massive" search area which yesterday stretched 96km by 138km.

7 News this morning reported the missing man to be Jeffrey Costa, who they report was working as a deckhand aboard the Night Crossing for a week-long fishing trip.

Four crew members and 17 passengers were reportedly aboard the 23m charter boat from Gladstone.

Crew members sparked the search near Swain Reefs after they notified police about 4am Saturday the man was missing. He had not been seen since 2am.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman could not confirm the identity of the missing man, and said police had not released this information.

As of 6.30am the man had not been located.

7 News reported authorities are working to establish in what direction the man may have traveled calculating current and swell conditions.

Police could not give further information on the search at this time, but are expected to provide updates throughout the morning.

UPDATE 3pm: POLICE are scouring a "massive" search area hundreds of kilometres off land for a man who went missing from a fishing charter early this morning.

Sergeant Mark Dean of Queensland Police Search and Rescue said four aircraft, three commercial vessels, six dories and a water police boat were searching Swain Reefs, 200km north-east of Yeppoon, for a 35-year-old man.

"The area is massive, it covers about 96km by 138km," Sgt Dean said.

Crew members notified police of the missing Sunshine Coast man around 4am after he had not been seen since 2am.

The 23m charter boat from Gladstone was reportedly on a fishing trip with four crew members and 17 passengers.

 

Sergeant Mark Dean addresses media on the search and rescue mission for a missing man near Swain Reefs.
Sergeant Mark Dean addresses media on the search and rescue mission for a missing man near Swain Reefs. Shayla Bulloch

Sgt Dean said the vessel, Night Crossing, was anchored when the man went missing, but wouldn't speculate on the circumstances.

"At this stage that's the subject of investigation... it's primarily a search and rescue operation for us," he said.

Sgt Dean said there were no other vessels around when the man went missing but two came to aid after an alert was raised.

Coordinated with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra, Sgt Dean said the search and rescue mission was a "huge effort" in not ideal conditions.

"We have roughly 20 knot winds and rain squalls," he said.

"We are doing our best to see if we can locate him."

Sgt Dean said although the search area was isolated, some parts of the reef could become exposed at low tide.

Police have spoken to people on board but Sgt Dean said their main concern was finding the missing man.

The man's family have been notified.

11.20AM: A BUREAU of Meteorology forecaster says it is difficult to ascertain what the weather conditions near Swain Reefs would have been like last night as it is so far from the coast.

A search and rescue operation is currently underway in the area for a crew member of a Gladstone charter boat who went missing in the early hours of the morning.

Meteorologist Jim Richardson said most of the state's coastline was experiencing south to south-easterly winds, but there was nothing to suggest a storm or another strong weather event might have occurred in the area.

The nearest observation point to where the man is believed to have gone missing is Gannet Cay, a tiny sandbar at the southern end of Swain Reefs National Park.

Mr Richardson said the wind at Gannet Cay stayed mostly around 20 knots last night, with a few gusts from 30-35 knots, but nothing that would warrant a strong wind warning.

A strong marine wind warning currently in place for the Capricornia Coast applies to an area of water closer to the shore and is not expected to affect the search and rescue operation.

A SEARCH and rescue operation is under way for a man who went missing early this morning off the coast of Yeppoon.

Police are appealing for information after a crew member went missing off a boat near Swains Reef, 200km north-east of Yeppoon.

The man was last seen on the boat around 2am and crew raised the alarm with authorities at 4am after not been able to find the man on board.

Two fixed wing aircraft are currently searching the area and a water police vessel is on route.

The vessel is a 23 metre charter vessel from Gladstone.

Police are appealing to boat users in the area to be on the lookout for the missing man.

The Morning Bulletin will update with more information as it is released by Queensland Police Service.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said two police boats and one civilian boat were currently involved in a search of the same area, but there was no suggestion aircraft would be used. 



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