Missing fisherman identified as FNQ doctor and father of two
FRIENDS and family of a missing Tablelands boatie are hoping for a miracle as the search off Innisfail ended its third day.
The 55-year-old has been identified as Tolga father-of-two Dr Richard Thomas, an anaesthetist who works at Atherton Hospital.
His devastated wife and children were too upset to speak with the Cairns Post and are being supported by family and friends.
His friend Robert Waters said he was hanging onto the hope the 55-year-old would be found.
"We are hoping for the best, and miracles do happen," he said.
"It's an unknown as to how and why, there is a 100 questions, we will wait to see what happened in the coming days until they call off the search."
A long-standing customer of Mr Waters' Northern Bikes store, he said Dr Thomas was a "super guy" and a committed family man and enthusiastic mountain bike rider.
"As a human being, he was always a really nice customer, always really nice to deal with and we always had a really nice chinwag when he came in," Mr Waters said.
"If he is not found he will be missed by us as a person."
Dr Thomas has not been seen since Tuesday morning when he left home with plans to head out to the reef from Mourilyan Harbour.
His empty boat was found floating at the mouth of the Johnstone River, a well known crocodile and shark habitat, by two members of the Coconuts Outrigger Canoe Club on Tuesday.
A air and sea search of 250 sq nm failed to find any trace of Dr Thomas today, despite police describing conditions on the water as "perfect".
Innisfail police Det Sen-Constable Mat Mattock said there remained no suggestion Dr Thomas' disappearance was suspicious and they were continuing to investigate while supporting the family.
"Obviously this is a really difficult time for them," he said.
Police have seized CCTV as part of their investigation including footage from the boat ramp.
A Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service spokeswoman said they were providing support for Dr Thomas's worried colleagues.
"We will not be disclosing any further details at this time out of respect for his family's
privacy," she said.
"We are providing support to our staff at this difficult time."
It's understood a decision will be made tomorrow about the whether the search will continue.