Gary Flower was last seen in the early hours of Tuesday morning (January 14) in Keppel Bay.
Gary Flower was last seen in the early hours of Tuesday morning (January 14) in Keppel Bay.

Water police continue to search for man missing at sea

WATER police continue to search for 60-year-old Dysart man Gary Flower, who went missing in waters off North Keppel Island last Tuesday morning.

Mr Flower was reported missing after he and a 62-year-old Yeppoon man attempted to swim to their seven-metre vessel which was dragging its anchor near Conical Rocks about 3am.

The 62-year-old made it to the vessel, but not Mr Flower.

 

The search for 60-year-old Gary Flower who went missing in the Keppel Islands has been scaled back.
The search for 60-year-old Gary Flower who went missing in the Keppel Islands has been scaled back.

 

Crew members from Coast Guard Yeppoon and Coast Guard Keppel Sands were heavily involved during the week with the three-day search operation for Mr Flower. Five other vessels assisted.

The search operation commenced after the Police Search and Rescue Co-ordinator contacted Flotilla Commander Jum Warren at 3am on Tuesday, requesting a search of the area from North Keppel Island to Corio Bay.

Two vessels, Yeppoon Rescue 1 and Marine Assist Rescue were on the water, in rough conditions, by 4.30am.

Yeppoon Rescue 1 attended to the survivor and the vessel concerned off Pleasant Island.

Although the vessel had been adrift, the falling tide caused the anchor to snag on rocks and the anchor line had to be cut to release the vessel.

The shocked survivor was taken on board the rescue vessel and his vessel was towed into Rosslyn Bay harbour at 7.05am.

Yeppoon Rescue 1 then returned to the search area where several helicopters and a fixed wing aircraft were scouring the sea for any sign of Mr Flower.

The police vessel, MV Hoey, was also on scene directing the search.

The coastguard vessels continued the search in rough weather until midday. The vessels returned to the search area at 6pm.

The search resumed on Wednesday when both vessels were in the search area with fresh crews by 6am.

Both returned to base at midday and Yeppoon Rescue 1 resumed the search with a fresh crew in the afternoon until 6pm.

On Thursday Yeppoon Rescue 1 was out again at daybreak and continued the search off Corio Bay until midday, when the search was called off for the coastguard.

The two vessels searched for a total of 55 hours; there were about 40 volunteer members involved for a total of about 350 hours.

Water police will continue to search today, and shoreline and beach patrols will be conducted.

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