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A Fisherman Goes Missing a Second Time in 2 Weeks

'Nobody knows' what has happened to Tony Higgins off the coast of Australia
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2020 7:21 AM CDT

(Newser) – Just short of two weeks ago, celebrations were in order after Tony Higgins and Derek Robinson were found drifting at sea, more than 60 miles from their destination off the coast of South Australia. That celebration was short-lived: Aussie officials say Higgins has vanished again. Per Vice.com and the Victor Harbor Times, the fisherman made an emergency call around 5am local time Tuesday saying his boat, the Margrel, had broken away from its moorings near Granite Island and that he was up to his knees in water. The causeway to Granite Island was closed the day before due to winds of more than 60mph. "When I got down here, nobody could see the boat," local freelance journalist Gary Juleff tells the ABC. "The police went out on the causeway. Nobody could see him. They tried to phone him back—no answer. So the answer to this question is 'nobody knows.'" Searchers went out by sea and helicopter, and debris was spotted a few miles from the head of the Murray Mouth. It's not clear if the debris is from the Margrel.

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After he was rescued the first time around, Higgins was hit with a fine of about $725 for having expired flares and an outdated beacon on his boat. He also wasn't properly licensed to drive it. Per the Telegraph, before this second vanishing, the 57-year-old Higgins had also run his boat aground in Victor Harbor over the weekend; he was able to get back out to sea when the tide came in. He was said to be angry about all of the attention his case has received, per ABC Australia. Grant Stevens, the police commissioner for South Australia, tells the Harbor Times that the first rescue operation for Higgins and Robinson—the largest maritime search in SA's history—had cost nearly $500,000 before they were found Sept. 10, after a five-day search. "There is an element of frustration that the state's resources are being dedicated to this for the second time," Stevens says. (Read more fishermen stories.)

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