Just weeks after the high-profile search and rescues of a pair of missing fishermen off the coast of Granite Island in South Australia, the same boat has gone missing again.
South Australian police say around 5am Tuesday they received a call from a man – believed to be the boat’s owner Tony Higgins – on board the timber-hulled boat named Margrel, saying it was taking on water off Victor Harbor, an hour south of Adelaide.
Police, with the assistance of a helicopter and sea rescue volunteers, have begun a search mission to locate the boat and save Higgins for a second time.
In early September, two men on board the Margrel, Higgins and Derek Robinson, went missing, prompting a large-scale four-day aerial search covering more than 103,000 sq km in waters south of Port Lincoln.
It was feared the men may have drowned at sea.
Just two hours after the search was called off, the men managed to make contact with police, who worked overnight to work out where the boat was – stranded in Salt Creek.
After they were found and towed to shore, water police inspected the vessel, locating an out-of-date emergency radio beacon and out-of-date flares.
“Police checks also revealed the boat operator wasn’t the holder of an appropriate recreational boat licence,” a spokesperson for South Australia police said in a statement.
“The 57-year-old man [Higgins] was issued an ‘on-the-spot’ fine totalling $1,000 for insufficient safety equipment and no operators’ licence.”