Monday, October 26, 2009
Mystery surrounds the sinking of a boat off the coast north of Darwin. The boat was spotted by fishermen who watched as it sank quickly before their eyes last week. But authorities have been unable to find out what happened to the vessel or its owners. Fisherman Brent Matthews, 28, said he and his mate saw the boat as it was about three-fourths submerged as they returned from a fishing trip in Shoal Bay at about 6.45pm last Wednesday. "There was no one around, no gear floating in the water," he said. "The boat sank quickly before our eyes and within minutes it was completely submerged. We did a survey of the surrounding area looking for the occupants but could not find anyone." He said the boat was about 4.5m long and looked in relatively new condition.
Brent Matthews captured this picture just as the boat went underIt was about 800m from shore so he searched up and down the coast for any of the vessel's occupants. "I scouted along the coast - I did a little bit of a grid pattern looking to see if anyone was floating." He reported the matter to police, who had received several calls. Yesterday police said the area was searched on Thursday morning but there had not been a person nor a boat reported missing recently. Darwin Watch Commander Megan Bakewell said there was nothing further to report in the vessel's fate. "There was no one around the (vessel)," she said. "All indications are that there's no owner to it." Mr Matthews said he hoped the boat's occupants had made it safely to shore and walked home through the mangroves. He said they may have bailed out, or the boat may have drifted off its mooring, or even floated over from the Tiwi Islands.