The discovery of a man’s boat with the engine running suggests he has fallen overboard — potentially while pulling in a fish — off the Sunshine Coast.
“His mobile phone was on board. Unfortunately, the fisherman wasn’t,” Mooloolaba Coast Guard commander Lee Campbell told 7NEWS on Monday.
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A search resumed for the man, aged in his 40s, in a vast strip of water between the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Island on Monday morning after his disappearance the previous evening.
He had launched his Cruise Craft Regal 2000 boat from the Mooloolaba boat ramp for a solo fishing trip early on Sunday.
The local man’s wife reported him missing on Sunday night after he didn’t come home as scheduled about 3pm.
The search began that night before his boat was found off Comboyuro Point on the northern tip of Moreton Island on Monday morning with the engine still running, police said.
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“If the engine was running, it’s a good assumption he’s fallen overboard and the boat’s continued on,” Campbell said.
“He’s probably hung over the side to pull a fish in and lost his grip on the side of the vessel, and couldn’t get back on board, I’m assuming.”
The “vast distance” of some 100km between where he set off to where the boat was found was because “the winds we had last night pushed it south, significantly”, Campbell said.
A search is underway for a fisherman who set out from Mooloolaba. Credit: 7NEWS
His life could hinge on whether he was wearing a life vest.
“If he was lucky enough to be wearing a life jacket, there’s a good chance we’ll find him,” Campbell said.
“You’re looking for a head in the water, basically, so it’s very, very difficult.
“But we’re always positive we’ll find somebody alive.”
The man’s EPIRB (emergency beacon) was not activated.
The search continues.