Family too distraught to comment after search for diver ended

THE search for missing man Matthew Shrimpton has been called off.

The 35-year-old's family, who live in Taupo, New Zealand, were yesterday too distraught to comment.

Mr Shrimpton is believed to have fallen into the ocean on Saturday evening while piloting a dory about 100 nautical miles east-south-east of Mackay.

Matthew Shrimpton has been missing at sea since Saturday night.
Matthew Shrimpton has been missing at sea since Saturday night.

It has been reported he and another man were fishing for sea cucumbers between Paul Reef and Storm Cay Reef.

A Queensland police spokeswoman said both Yeppoon and Gladstone water police patrolled the search area yesterday.

She said the search had been suspended at 2.15pm.

The Australian Marine Safety Authority called off its aerial search at 4pm on Monday.

At the height of the search, six fixed-wing aircraft and four helicopters were used to search for Mr Shrimpton.

A total of 16 SES volunteers were deployed with AMSA, and were also stood down on Monday.

Mackay SES controller Justin Englert said personnel had been specifically trained to locate people lost at sea.

"Our job is to be the eyes and report anything of interest we see," he said.

Rough conditions were reported to have hampered rescue efforts, but Mr Englert said the air observers were well trained.

"It doesn't matter if it's calm or there are white caps," he said.

"Volunteers are trained to maintain personal discipline and keep searching with particular techniques they're trained to do, and not divert from that job until given a rest period from the pilot."

An AMSA spokeswoman said searches were generally carried out for as long as medical advice suggested the person could survive.

"We do consult medical advice and, based on information available at the time, that determines... the search," she said.

In June last year, three Mackay men spent 15 hours clinging to a single life jacket in waters off Prudhoe Island.



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