Fishermen’s boat found at Phillip Island

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A BOAT possibly used by two fishermen missing off Flinders on the weekend has reportedly been found deserted at Pyramid Rocks, Phillip Island.

The search continues for the men, aged 20 and 33, who left the Flinders boat ramp 6am, Sunday 5 April, in the three metre tinnie with outboard motor.

The alarm was raised when a friend was unable to contact them about 9pm Sunday. Water Police, the Air Wing, Volunteer Marine Rescue and Western Port Coast Guard crews scoured Western Port Bay until late Sunday night and from first light Monday without sighting the pair. An AUSSAR Challenger search aircraft from Canberra swept the bay until 2am.

Conditions on the Sunday were said to be rough and the men are not believed to have much in the way of safety equipment on board.

Acting Sergeant Rob Hiep, of the Water Police, said search areas were based on computer modelling which sought to predict where small boats, for example, would be pushed by wind and tides over any given time.

This set the scene for search crews being allocated certain areas, with Tim Warner, of VMR Mornington, saying they were monitoring the coastline near Cowes for any signs of the missing men. They were about to head off to join the two police boats and the Coast Guard for a line search heading north towards Point Leo. Hastings police and SES crews were walking along the shoreline.

“We will continue on until we have a result,” Acting Sergeant Hiep said.

Conditions were said to have improved since the men set out – in defiance of the state’s Stay-at-Home quarantine laws under which fishing is banned.

It would have been cold on the water: The temperature at Flinders dropped to 9.5 degrees overnight and rain fell much of Sunday afternoon.

Anyone with information is urged to contact 000.

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