Tragic end to man’s circumnavigation bid

AN ATTEMPTED circumnavigation of Tasmania ended in tragedy yesterday when a 78-year-old solo yachtsman died in the surf off the coast of Flinders Island.

The Queensland man was making a second attempt to sail solo around the state.

He had been rescued on May 26 off the coast of Stanley during his first attempt. The man was rescued by police and local fisherman after the six-metre vessel was swamped by a wave.

As a result, he was taken to hospital, but later released.

It is believed the man re-boarded his boat on Sunday and set off from Stanley to continue his trip before getting into trouble and running aground on Badger Island about 1.45am yesterday.

Tasmania Police vessel Protector III was launched from Lady Barron and arrived on the scene about 6am after navigating the course in darkness to find the vessel partially submerged with no sign of the skipper.

An inflatable dinghy was still fixed to the stern of the yacht when police arrived.

It was not known whether the man was wearing a life jacket when he entered the water.

Upon finding no sign of the man, Tasmania Police launched a wide-scale search of the area at first light by PV Protector III, assisted by the Westpac police rescue helicopter and a Tasmania Police dive team, over the course of the next seven hours.

About 25 emergency personnel were recruited for the search, which consisted of air, sea and land searches of both the coast, Flinders and Badger islands.

The man’s body was located about two kilometres east of Badger Island about 1pm.

The ill-fated yacht sits partially submerged off rocks at Badger Island.

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