SEARCH CONTINUES: Water Police Senior Constable Mark Gardiner speaking to media as the search for a Bundaberg free diver missing off Elliott Heads continued for the third day.
SEARCH CONTINUES: Water Police Senior Constable Mark Gardiner speaking to media as the search for a Bundaberg free diver missing off Elliott Heads continued for the third day.

Police confirm Bundaberg man as missing free diver

THE search for an experienced Bundaberg free diver missing off Elliott Heads is continuing for the third day after the 38-year-old failed to resurface on Saturday morning.

Addressing the media in Brisbane today, Water Police Senior Constable Mark Gardiner said a helicopter was in the air today searching the shoreline, while Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg and Hervey Bay both had a vessel in the water.

"At this the conditions are very favourable for a search," he said.

"The search area started off about 100-200 nautical miles and its now spanned out to 350 nautical miles so as the day progresses and the days progress, we'll have our assets spreading out."

Having a last known position has assisted police co-ordinate the search area, but given there's been no sign of the man since Saturday, Sen Const Gardiner said things weren't looking great.

"It doesn't look too good but we're continuing on with the search hoping that he's still out there somewhere and we will continue on until otherwise we see fit, and maybe the possibilities aren't too good," he said.

Sen Const Gardiner said a search by police divers yesterday of the area where the man was last seen failed to locate any sign of the missing free diver.

"They've gone down, they've done a very extensive search, they've also used their sonar equipment. They haven't located anything of interest so based on that we've ceased all dive operations done there and we're now focused on the water movement."

Sen Const Gardiner said they would start to scale back the search in coming days but would continue with shoreline searches based on the water movement, using the helicopter and possibly Surf Life Saving jet skis tomorrow.

The 38-year-old Bundaberg man was one of three people on board a vessel heading back into Bundaberg after an overnight trip.

"They stopped on the way back and he decided to go for one more dive and hasn't resurfaced," he said.

Sen Const Gardiner said the two other men were not in the water when the 38-year-old man disappeared and they were helping with the search on the first day.

"Detectives in Bundaberg have spoken to the two men and taken statements.

"From all information we've received he's done these trips a few times, he's quite a fit gentleman … so I'd say he's fairly experienced at it."

Sen Const Gardiner said there were risks with free diving, including not surfacing in time and blacking out from a lack of oxygen, but at this stage whatever caused the man to not resurface was assumptions.


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