Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Torn apart by tiger sharks Fantome Is, Queensland

WHAT started out as a dream getaway with friends has turned to tragedy for a 48-year-old man who was found dead off Fantome Island, near Townsville yesterday.

A Melbourne man, known to his friends as Rooster, was killed after he encountered trouble while trying to retrieve a vessel which broke anchor off the island about 7.30pm on Sunday night, reports the Townsville Bulletin.

The man's body, which had been mauled by tiger sharks, was found near the island about 9.45am yesterday.

It's not clear whether the man had drowned or if he was killed by the sharks.

Fantome, part of the Great Palm Island group, is about 65km north-east of Townsville.

The qualified builder was taking a break from work on Orpheus Island to spend time with three workmates living on Palm Island. Emergency services officers launched a large-scale air and sea search after the man failed to return to shore with the vessel on Sunday night.

Emergency Management Queensland's Allan Jefferson told Yahoo7: "Four of them went swimming out to the boat, three of them made it and the fourth one never got there.

"The person has gone into the water to retrieve the boat last night and has not returned."

Palm Island resident Lynndel Prior was one of the last people to see the man alive after he stopped by to visit her family over the weekend.

Ms Prior said her partner, Anthony, had formed a close bond with the man while working on Orpheus Island.

"They both hit it off straightaway and became really close mates, so the news has obviously hit us pretty hard," she said.

Rooster was just such a loveable bloke who was always willing to put his hand up to help others to put a smile on their face.

"It's hard to imagine how a day that started out so great could end up so tragic."

The man leaves behind a wife and stepson, Jake, who had been working on the island with his father in the wake of Cyclone Yasi.

Read more at the Townsville Bulletin: http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2011/08/30/261881_news.html


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