Police won't rule out shark attack on missing fisherman
SUNSHINE Coast Police say a shark "could certainly" have taken the missing fisherman last seen at Mudjimba yesterday.
Authorities have been searching for more than 24 hours between Old Woman Island and Twin Waters for Mooloolaba man Luke Howard, 35, who has been missing since 1pm yesterday.
He was fishing on a jetski with a mate when it malfunctioned and started taking on water.
Senior Constable Mark Vickers admitted police had "no idea" what had happened to Luke, but added "it is certainly possible a shark is involved".He said it was believed that the jetski had started taking on water and Luke had climbed off to investigate the cause. "He was then unable to get back on to the jetski because it had become unstable," he said. Snr Const Vickers said at one stage, Luke was being towed by the jetski before he had indicated that he was "becoming tired". "When the jetski's arrived back at the beach, the operator discovered (Luke) was no longer with the jetski," he said. "We know he was on the ski, then was off it. A medical condition could have been at play."
Sunshine Coast Water Police senior constable Mark Muddiman says varying reports made it impossible to locate where Mr Howard was last seen.
"All we know is that he was somewhere between Mudjimba Island, and the Twin Waters lifeguard tower," Snr con Muddiman said.
"Where exactly he became unstuck is unsure. One report said they went to Mooloolaba, but he could have done a dogleg."
Water Police could not have asked for better conditions for a rescue mission.
"Conditions are near perfect, one of the better days, there is no rocks offshore just at the island," he said.
"We have seen a fair bit of marine life. Dolphins, turtles, fish schools, but no sharks. I dare say they will be around though.
"We will keep doing what we are doing and hope for a good result.
"But the longer it goes on it's not looking good."
Snr Sgt Vickers said despite favourable conditions, the mission was now more likely a recovery than a rescue.
"The conditions have been very good in terms of visibility and on the surface. You expect to have a result straight away in the good conditions considering our resources," he said.
"It is not likely he will be found but we will keep searching until all hope is lost."