19.05.20

The Sunshine Coast-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter has been stood down from a search for a missing fisherman, which has been suspended by authorities coordinating the extensive operation.

The helicopter spent more than seven hours in the air yesterday, searching for the man who is believed to have fallen overboard from a fishing trawler, off the Sunshine Coast.

The rescue helicopter was first tasked by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) and the Australian Maritime Safety Authortiy (AMSA), just after 4:15am yesterday and continued to search throughout the day, returning to base three times to refuel.

The crew searched in a grid pattern, about 40 kilometres off the Sunshine Coast.

LifeFlight Director of Aeromedical Services David Donaldson said wind, showers and large swell made the conditions challenging, even for the highly trained search crews involved.

“The wind and the waves generate quite a bit of chop and the surface of the water is quite difficult to pick out something like a small dot in the water, which would be what a person would look like,” he said.

The RACQ LifeFlight Rescue chopper was part of a mammoth combined search effort, involving other helicopters and a jet, as well as boats from other services.