Search for man swept from rocks off WA coastline continues1st March 2021
The men were not wearing life jackets at the time.
The 23-year-old friend had been treading water 200 metres from shore for about 90 minutes before he was saved by a volunteer marine rescue boat that had been diverted to the incident from another search nearby.
The friend received minor injuries and spent a night in hospital.
The search for the 18-year-old had to be called off late Sunday afternoon due to the dangerous conditions, before resuming on Monday morning.
The search zone stretches 3 kilometres along the coast.
Up to 50 family members of the teenager are staying in the area with some assisting authorities in their efforts to find him.
“We’ve been able to have some of the family members part of the search team which gives them a really good indication of just how much work is being done to locate their brother, friend, son and grandson,” Superintendent Clarke said.
“The man was a capable swimmer so they’re all things we consider and put into the mix when we’re considering the whole situation.”
Usually police divers would be called in for this type of search but given the rough conditions expected Monday, that’s not an option.
Sea rescue vessels, surf life saving jet skis, drones, a private helicopter, and observers on the land are working together in the search.
Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington expressed his frustrations on 6pr’s Mornings with Liam Bartlett about people ignoring advice about wearing life jackets in the remote but dangerous area.
“You get to the stage where you’ve got to wonder ‘what do you do to get the message through to people’,” he said.
“We’ve got a fishing shop down here that offers free life jackets, no deposit, no nothing, a free life jacket if you want to go rock fishing. There are cleats on the rocks where you can tie yourself on to the cleat so you don’t get washed off.
“There are people who want to go to isolated places and they’re not listening … it takes another tragedy like this to bring it back to the floor to say go fishing – fine, but wear a life jacket and tie yourself down to the rock.
“The Southern Ocean is a very cruel master down here, it’s still in control. It’s a beautiful spot but it is dangerous.”
The earlier search the marine rescue boat had been diverted from was for 36-year-old Christopher Hoy who had gone missing after he’d failed to return home from fishing in Gull National Park on Saturday.
Mr Hoy was found safe and well on Sunday after a marine and land search was lanched.
Lauren is a casual journalist at WAtoday who reports on education and general news.