WATER Police have been conducting an investigation and a report will be prepared for the coroner following the death of a man in a boating mishap in Waratah Bay last weekend.
The tragedy unfolded on Sunday morning. At around 6.30am two men launched a small boat with a motor from Shallow Inlet (near Sandy Point) and were attempting to cross the bar into Waratah Bay when their boat was swamped by a large wave. The men were thrown into the water, where they were eventually – after about ten minutes – able to set off an EPIRB distress signal. The signal was received by the Australian Maritime Search and Rescue control centre in Canberra and local police were alerted. Police from Toora and Leongatha attended the scene, along with the Water Police from Melbourne.
One of the stricken men, a 34-year-old from Yarram, made it to shore at about 7.30am, just as the Helimed helicopter arrived. The other man, a 64-year-old from Cranbourne, was not so lucky. He was observed by the helicopter crew lying face down in the water and was deceased by the time they managed to retrieve him.
The younger man was airlifted to the Latrobe Regional Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and was later allowed to leave. The boat was unable to be retrieved due to the rough sea conditions.
This was the second boating mishap in South Gippsland waters in a matter of hours. A search was mounted in the early hours of Sunday morning for a fisherman, believed to be in his early 30s, who disappeared off Kilcunda. He had launched his boat from Newhaven on Saturday afternoon. An EPIRB distress signal was received by the Australian Maritime Search and Rescue monitoring centre just before 4am on Sunday. An upturned vessel was soon located at the base of the cliffs near Seaview Road, Kilcunda. Water Police, along with air wing support and the Western Port Coast Guard, searched for the man for several days. At time of going to press he had still not been found.