Geoff Bignell’s grieving father has paid tribute to a “really
kind boy” who lived life to the fullest and died doing something he loved with
someone he loved.
Geoff, 20, and his partner Victoria McCloy, 22, went missing on
Saturday, November 23, after they were seen buying a gaff for their rock fishing
trip on the Bald Head peninsula in Torndirrup National Park.
Police believe the Northam couple fell from the rocks on the
south side of Bald Head that afternoon during a 4m swell.
Mr Bignell’s father Matt said his son had been trying to catch a
big resident groper which had broken a rod and snapped his fishing line during
other visits in recent weeks.
“Twice that groper had come up to the surface and he hadn’t been
able to land it,” Mr Bignell said.
“The first time it broke the fishing rod, the second time it
broke the line. That’s why you saw him buying the gaff and stuff like that. He
was trying to catch the big one.”
A social media video shows Mr Bignell fishing from the rocks with
his rod bent back on itself as he struggles with what he describes as a
A still frame from the video is pictured above. It is understood
the video was captured during another visit last month.
Matt Bignell said his son worked with his brothers building sheds
and was also an avid BMX rider.
“Fishing was one of his new loves that he picked up. He was
really keen,” he said.
“It’s something he loved. He’d mentioned to one of his brothers
if he died doing something he loved, he’d be quite happy about that.”
A young man with a sense of adventure, he also had a soft side.
“He was a really kind boy. He was always willing to help
anybody,” Mr Bignell said. “He loved his nieces and nephews.”
A body believed to be that of Mr Bignell was found at West Beach
about 2.30pm on Friday.
Police divers suspended their search for Ms McCloy on Sunday
after failing to find her body, but rangers will keep looking.
A GoFundMe account has been set up from Northam to help fund an
ongoing search. More than $7000 was raised in the first 24 hours.
“We’d really love to have Tori’s body found,” Matt Bignell said.
“That’s the initial plan (with the GoFundMe account) because they
basically stopped the search because they had done all they could do.
“If she does appear, well that money will be useful for later
Mr Bignell, who works at Mitre 10 and volunteers as the manager
of Northam Airport, said he would like to do something in the Bald Head area to
commemorate his son and Ms McCloy.
Devastated WA mum renews calls for rock fishers to wear mandatory life jackets