Deep concerns are held for a sailor off the West Australian town of Busselton after a small sailing catamaran was found by volunteer rescue personnel with nobody onboard. A search was initiated when the sailor was found to be missing, and the would-be rescuers then discovered the catamaran.
Police helicopter joins in the search for missing sailor
Duty Inspector Neil Blair of the West Australian water police said a 76-year-old Australind man had set sail from Port Geographe Marina on the 6m multihull yacht about 12.20pm.
Inspector Blair told The West Australian that the man had been due to return at 4pm but the yacht was discovered by local marine rescue volunteers about 7km north of the marina with nobody on board about 8pm.
Police were alerted to the fact that the yacht was overdue about 6.30pm, which sparked the sea search.
A search was also underway on land.
A water police spokesman said the search would begin by 7am today, with three aircraft and four rescue boats involved.
He said the Commonwealth marine search aircraft, the police helicopter and the RAC rescue helicopter were all expected to be involved in the search, along with marine rescue boats from Margaret River and Naturaliste and two boats from Busselton.
It is understood the yacht was in gear and the motor was running when it was located. Its sails were down.
'There was no person on the yacht when it was located,' Inspector Blair said.
'A land, air and sea search is being conducted and coordinated by the water police rescue coordination centre.'
The yacht has been towed back to port for forensic testing and it has been confirmed that the sailor was not wearing a life jacket.