'He's a legend': Hopes for missing deckhand to be found safe

4.32PM: A FORMER co-worker of missing deckhand Jeff Costar hopes he is found safe and well after he vanished from a Gladstone charter boat in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Hamish Fairweather worked with Mr Costar for about three years on the MV Night Crossing, and said he was an asset to the team.

"He is a legend, always made the week go quicker with him out there," Mr Fairweather said.

"Me and him got on pretty well, he is always up for a laugh."

 

Former co-worker Hamish Fairweather aboard Night Crossing.
Former co-worker Hamish Fairweather aboard Night Crossing. Contributed

1.26PM: ROUGH weather in the search area would be making today's search and rescue operation at Swain Reefs difficult, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Showers are pushing through and are expected to hang around for the next day or so due to a trough that has formed near the search area.

Forecaster Michael Paech said the 15-20 knot winds in the area were enough to make a search and rescue operation "very uncomfortable" but were not strong enough to trigger a marine wind warning.

The wind is expected to remain at that level until it eases off around Wednesday.

The search for the 35-year-old deckhand has continued today, with no sign of the man. 

 

TRAGEDY: The MV Night Crossing, purpose-built for fishing trips, in 2011.
TRAGEDY: The MV Night Crossing, purpose-built for fishing trips, in 2011.

10.20AM: MYSTERY surrounds the fate of a Sunshine Coast man who went missing in rough seas from a Gladstone charter boat at 2am on Sunday morning.

The 35-year-old deck hand was reported missing by his fellow crewmen at 4am and a search was mounted near Swain Reefs, 200km north-east of Yeppoon.

7 News have reported the man to be Jeffrey Costar, one of four crew on-board the Night Crossing, but this is currently unable to be confirmed by police.

The 23m vessel was also carrying 17 passengers during the week-long fishing trip.

Yesterday's search of the massive 50 nautical miles (93km) by 75 nautical miles (139km) surrounding area was undertaken by four aircraft, three commercial vessels, six dories and a water police boat, but today's operation has been scaled back.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said two police boats and a commercial boat were today searching the same area, but there was no suggestion aircraft would be used.

Police are expected to provide further updates throughout the day.

WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR:

The moment he went missing

  • On Saturday, charter boat, the Night Crossing, was anchored for the night 200km north-east of Yeppoon where the 35-year-old deck hand was last seen at 2am.
  • The skipper raised the alarm at 4am after the man could not be found and a search began at first light on Sunday.
  • Owner Raymond Gleeson told 7 News, "I just don't know what to say, we are all in shock and we are doing everything possible".

 

Sergeant Mark Dean addresses media on the search and rescue mission for a missing man near Swain Reefs.
Sergeant Mark Dean addresses media on the search and rescue mission for a missing man near Swain Reefs. Shayla Bulloch

Who is the missing man?

  • 7 News have reported the missing man is named Jeff Costar, but this is unconfirmed by police.
  • Police have reported the man's family have been notified of his disappearance.
  • He was working as a deck hand on the Night Crossing along with three other crew members when he went missing.

The weather conditions he faces

  • The search for a missing Coast deck hand continued in the face of tough conditions on Sunday with rescuers up against "roughly 20 knot winds and rain squalls".
  • A Bureau of Meteorology forecaster said there was nothing to suggest a storm or strong weather event in the area at the time.
  • However, winds at the nearest observation point were around 20 knots with some gusts between 30-35 knots.

 

Sergeant Mark Dean addresses media on the search and rescue mission for a missing man near Swain Reefs.
Sergeant Mark Dean addresses media on the search and rescue mission for a missing man near Swain Reefs. Shayla Bulloch

The search so far

  • During the first day of the search, four aircraft, three commercial vessels, six dories and a water police boat were searching a 96km by 138km area near Swain Reefs for site of the missing deck hand.
  • This morning, that search has been scaled back with two police boats and one commercial boat searching the same area.
  • A Queensland Police Service spokesman said there was no suggestion an aircraft would be employed today.
  • The area is too far out of reach for rescue helicopters to venture without needing to refuel.
  • Boaties in the area have been urged to keep an eye out for signs of the missing man.

Where is Swain Reefs?

  • Swain Reefs in 200km north-east of Yeppoon in Central Queensland.
  • Some parts of the reef can be exposed at low tide.
  • The area is about 120 nautical miles offshore from where the Night Crossing departs.

 

A 35-year-old deck hand has gone missing off a charter boat at Swain Reefs.
A 35-year-old deck hand has gone missing off a charter boat at Swain Reefs. Google Maps

What is the Night Crossing?

  • The Night Crossing is a 23m charter boat that specialises in offshore reef fishing.
  • The website states most charters are out to Swain Reefs, which leave on Friday 3pm and return the following Friday morning about 5am.
  • It can accommodate between 16 and 18 passengers and is "Gladstone's only purpose designed and built live aboard fishing charter vessel".

 

8.30AM: A SEARCH and rescue operation was to resume "at first light" today for a 35-year-old man missing from the Gladstone charter boat Night Crossing at Swain Reefs.

A police spokesman said the aerial search for the Sunshine Coast man was suspended overnight and emergency services would this morning re-allocate resources to the "massive" search area which yesterday stretched 50 nautical miles (93km) by 75 nautical miles (139km).

7 News this morning named the missing man as Jeffrey Costar, a deckhand aboard the Night Crossing for a week-long fishing trip.

Four crew members and 17 passengers were reportedly aboard the 23m charter boat.

 

Crew members sparked the search near Swain Reefs after they notified police about 4am Saturday the man was missing. He had not been seen since 2am.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman could not confirm the identity of the missing man, and said police had not released this information.

As of 6.30am the man had not been located.

7 News reported authorities are working to establish in what direction the man may have traveled by calculating current and swell conditions.

Police could not give out further information on the search at this time, but are expected to provide updates throughout the morning.

Read yesterday's rolling coverage here.



Fear for Bilo family amid Christmas Island quarantine plan

premium_icon Fear for Bilo family amid Christmas Island quarantine plan

Fears Bilo Tamil family may be exposed to coronavirus.

New fishing comp hits region

premium_icon New fishing comp hits region

THE Awoonga Dam Open will be more than a fishing competition – it aims to hook...

Town celebrates as school is finally opened

premium_icon Town celebrates as school is finally opened

Lynda Ninness celebrates the opening of our new school.