Marine Rescue volunteers search for missing boater

Marine Rescue Boats conducting the search. This photo was taken onboard LM30 by crew member Lisa.

MARINE Rescue units from Port Stephens to Terrigal hit the water last week to search for missing 43-year-old man Ashley McKellar, a boater who failed to return as planned from a trip to Lake Macquarie.

Mr McKellar was last seen on Wednesday 14 June.

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Mr McKellar’s boat was found by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter on Thursday, about 20 nautical miles offshore, however the sailor could not be located.

Responding Marine Rescue volunteers worked in collaboration with the Water Police.

Volunteers on board Marine Rescue NSW vessels Port Stephens 30, Lemon Tree Passage 30, Newcastle 30, Lake Macquarie 20 and Terrigal 30 were involved in the multi-agency search for the man.

On Thursday 15 June, Marine Rescue NSW Hunter/Central Coast Zone Commander Steve Raymond said a crew on board rescue vessel Lake Macquarie 30 searched with Water Police 49 for over four hours on Wednesday night.

“LM 30 began searching around 7.45pm until they were stood down at midnight,” he said.

On Thursday 15 June, Marine Rescue boats were deployed to resume the search for the man.

Marine Rescue NSW volunteers on board Lake Macquarie 30 conducted a search of Lake Macquarie while Lemon Tree Passage 30 and Port Stephens 30 worked with Water Police 26 to conduct a line search from Anna Bay to Newcastle.

Newcastle 30 searched off Redhead, providing assistance to the aerial search in that area.

Marine Rescue volunteers on board Lake Macquarie 20 and Terrigal 30 with Water Police 22 commenced their search south of Swansea Heads, focusing on searching from their position moving northward to Newcastle.

Zone Commander Steve Raymond said Newcastle 30 resumed the multi-agency search at 8am on Friday morning before being joined offshore by a crew on board Lake Macquarie 30 at 9am.

“Both Marine Rescue NSW vessels have been tracking up and down the coast from Redhead in the north pushing south to The Entrance,” Mr Raymond said.

“Each time they do a track they move further east travelling between ten to fifteen knots.

“Crew changes have just taken place on each vessel with both Marine Rescue NSW boats now heading back out to continue the search,” Zone Commander Raymond said.

On Friday 16 June it was announced that Marine Rescue NSW volunteers wouldn’t take any further part in the search unless requested by Marine Area Command.

Sadly, at the time of publication, the missing man has not been found.

Meanwhile, volunteers on board Port Stephens 30 also conducted a separate rescue mission to retrieve a disabled vessel with three persons on board, 30 nautical miles (55kms) off Port Stephens.

The six metre cabin runabout suffered engine problems and requested assistance from Marine Rescue NSW.

All persons on board are safe.


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