Search for spearfisher suspended after police find 26yo's clothes, flippers, on
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Police say they have found items belonging to a Cairns spearfisherman near where
he went missing on Saturday afternoon.
Edmonton resident Torrance Sambo, 26, had been fishing at Sudbury Reef,
south-east of Fitzroy Island, with a 56-year-old friend who raised the alarm.
An official search effort launched at the weekend involved boats, four
helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and was aided by a large community-led
The official search was called off on Monday afternoon after authorities found
clothing and fishing equipment belonging to Mr Sambo.
A large area around Sudbury Reef was searched in an operation that Senior
Constable Matt Cornish said was aided by clear weather.
"Given the conditions of the ocean it was fantastic weather and great
visibility," he said.
"Police were able to conduct a systematic search of an extensive area, which was
in excess of 135 square kilometres.
"The items that were located on the ocean floor were assessed and they were
assessed as [belonging to] the missing man.
"The items that were located by police divers on Sunday afternoon were in close
vicinity of the boat, which was still anchored there."
Senior Constable Cornish said the decision to suspend the search was made in
conjunction with Mr Sambo's family.
"From that point in time we could condense our search to the nearby area and
there they were able to assess the situation and it was deemed that it was no
longer necessary," he said.
The boat was towed to Cairns and will feature in the investigation.
Senior Constable Cornish said it was best practice for one person to remain on
the vessel as a lookout at all times.
Detectives will prepare a report for the coroner.
Search called off for missing spear fisherman Torrance Sambo
A family member of the missing spear fisherman has broken her silence to clarify
an important detail as police called off the search, leaving investigators to
query whether the 26-year-old could have been taken by a shark.
LATEST: THE family
of a missing spear fisherman have vowed to keep searching for the
26-year-old despite police calling their efforts off.
The partner of missing 26-year-old spear fisherman Torrance Sambo says she was
“puzzled” by the police statement which reported family were consulted before
calling the search off.
Jasmine Brown who shares two young children with Mr Sambo said the search for
her partner would “never be over” and that the police statement issued midday
Tuesday was “misleading”.
“We don’t know which family members they consulted,” Ms Brown, who lives with Mr
Sambo’s mother said.
Queensland Police have been contacted for confirmation on which of Mr Sambo’s
family members were consulted.
“We’re still hoping for the best, the plan is to just search and search,” Ms
“(All the family members) are still hopeful, some sadness of course but they
will never give up.
“Our search isn’t over and will never be over.”
Ms Brown said she thanked the Far Northern community for its support and help
and asked “everyone just keep praying for ‘Torry’.”
TUESDAY: The search for
a missing spear fisherman off the coast of Cairns has been called off as
investigators query whether the 26-year-old could have been taken by a shark.
At 2pm on Monday the search for missing Edmonton man, Torrance Sambo was called
off in good weather near Sudbury Reef.
Queensland Police Senior Sergeant Matt Cornish said search vessels conducted an
extensive search covering more than 135 sq/km.
“Obviously as time goes on the chance of survivability decreases dramatically,”
“Police make the decision to suspend the search and rescue mission for this man.
“The decision was made by the State Search and Rescue Co-ordinator along with
police officers, medical experts and the family, as well.”
Snr Sgt Cornish said detectives conducting an investigation into the
disappearance would be looking at the possibility Mr Sambo could have been taken
by a shark.
“They have not ruled that out at this stage and they will be looking at any
piece of evidence available to find out what happened to this man, to be able to
give family and friends closure,” he said.
Snr Sgt Cornish said items including flippers found on the ocean floor have been
identified as possessions belonging to Mr Sambo.
MONDAY: Police say a
number of items have been discovered during the search for a spear fisherman who
vanished during a dive off the Cairns coast.
The 26-year-old man, Torrance Sambo, became separated from his 56-year-old
fishing companion and failed to return to the boat at 4.15pm Saturday.
Queensland Police Senior Sergeant Matt Cornish said the items were currently
being assessed to confirm whether they are linked to the investigation.
“The items were located on the ocean floor near where the boat was,” he said.
“Police divers did locate them.
He said the search would continue until sundown Monday and was expected to
resume on Tuesday.
“We will continue with this search and rescue to provide closure or answers for
the family moving forward,” he said.
A number of private boats crewed by members of the public have also joined the
search after distressed family and friends put call-outs on social media.
EARLIER: A search effort
has resumed for a missing spear fisherman who disappeared following a dive near
Sudbury Reef off the Cairns coast.
The 26-year-old man became separated from his 56-year-old fishing companion and
failed to return to the boat at 4.15pm Saturday.
Police have now confirmed how their desperate hunt for the vanished diver will
play out today.
“The aerial and surface search, including four helicopters and numerous vessels
will continue from first light this morning,” a Queensland Police spokesman
Cairns Water Police searched with the assistance of the rescue helicopter and
Coast Guard on the weekend but the man was not located.
The search was expected to stop at last light on Sunday and continue Monday
Divers will continue searching the sea bed with helicopters and vessels combing
Far North District duty officer Senior Sergeant Gregory Miles said several
vessels conducted a search over a 47 square nautical mile area on Sunday.
“Police divers arrived from Brisbane and have done a dive this afternoon and
will continue to search in the morning,” he said.
“A decision will be made (Monday) about how long the search will continue.”
The Water Police Vessel, the Perry Irwin remained in the area overnight and a
Queensland Police spokeswoman confirmed the Rescue 510 helicopter along with
three other helicopters, water police and the Cairns Volunteer Coast Guard were
involved in the search efforts.
On Sunday, a plea by the missing man’s sister on social media for boaties to
keep an eye out for him attracted hundreds of comments of support and hope.
Among countless comments of the post’s followers assuring the family they had
shared the plea were messages of hope.
“I’ve been out at that reef when our boat snapped the anchor rope while we were
spearfishing. We were in the water for just over 16 hours before search and
rescue found us, it’s more than doable to survive out there overnight. Have
faith, I hope he is found and OK, I only shared to try ease your mind a little,”
Toby Waite said.
“Sending prayers out to you and the families and praying we get positive news
today that he is found safe and well,” Phil West said.
Boaties urged to join search for missing spearfisherman Torrance Sambo
Desperate family of missing spearfisherman Torrance Sambo are pleading with
boat, jet ski and drone owners to take part in a co-ordinated land and sea
search early Saturday.
FAMILY of missing spearfisherman Torrance Sambo are pleading boat, jet ski
and drone owners to take part in a co-ordinated land and sea search
extending from Innisfail to Wujal Wujal.
The 26-year-old was spearfishing at Sudbury Reef last Saturday when he failed to
return to the boat.
Despite the official search scouring 135sq km of ocean, the mission failed to
find the Edmonton man and was called
off by Cairns police on Monday.
Not deterred, Mr Sambo’s family – believing the much-loved father of three could
still be alive – has vowed to search on.
At 4am Saturday, boaties will take on free fuel and supplies before
rendezvousing at five different locations and heading out on a desperate mission
to bring Mr Sambo home.
Search crews will meet at Trinity Inlet, Port Douglas, Yarrabah, Wujal Wujal and
Mr Sambo’s sister Genavie Tabaui made a desperate plea on Friday afternoon for
help with the search.
“The police may have given up on Torri, but we have not,” she said
“We are sending out a heartfelt plea to the public to help us find Torri. Any
help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.”
Volunteer Marine Rescue Officer in charge of Gulf waters Peter Graham said ocean
currents often moved floating debris hundreds of kilometres.
“There’s particular spots, a stretch of beach north of Cape Flattery, it’s
unbelievable what washes up from tourist areas. (Items) like dinghies, fuel
tanks and diving gear,” he said.
“When the tides and currents work together it’s amazing what turns up.”
He commended the family for undertaking their own search but feared hopes of
finding the spearfisherman alive were remote.
“What the family is doing now is exceptional,” he said.
“As important as a family member is there are limited resources and you can’t
blow them all on the one search, you have to have resources for the next one.”
He said sometimes best preparations and doing the right thing were not enough to
ensure safety on the Great Barrier Reef.
“The thousands of people out there every week, the stats of something going
wrong are almost incalculable,” he said.
“From Bundaberg north to PNG the chance of (death) is minimal, there would be
one fatality in a million.
”Sometimes you do nothing wrong but it’s just circumstances on the day.”