Hopes are fading for Lismore fisherman Mick Endres, whose boat ‘Julie’ was found unmanned and adrift off Evans Head on Saturday.
Northern Rivers Marine Rescue regional controller, Stephen Reading, said, ‘Westpac Rescue Helicopter conducted a search of an area off Evans Head where the fishing boat was known to be operating. A vessel was located some 15 nautical miles due east of the port and was found to be empty.’
According to the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service, crew member Tom Burns was winched down to the Julie but the fisherman was not located.
Five aircraft continued to search for the missing person on Saturday without success.
The boat was towed back to shore but a major air and sea search under direction of NSW police area command failed to find the missing fisherman, who had not been in radio contact for more than 30 hours.
Mr Endres is remembered as a hard-working fisherman who put his family first.
He set fish and spanner crab traps and fished off the coast with a hand line from his small fishing boat.
Evans Head Fishermen’s Co-op chairman, Bill Harris, said ‘he’s been a great ambassador for the co-op. He was the hardest-working man down there. If there was something to do, Mick would be in it.’
‘He doted on his kids. One of his kids just got started as a premiership carpenter,’ he told ABC North Coast.
‘Every day, even if it was an iffy day he’d be out there to make sure the mortgage was paid,’ Mr Harris said
He added Mr Endres had previously had a lucky escape.
‘He was run over by a prawn trawler in the dark. The trawler didn’t see him and the next thing he was having a swim. He was lucky to be alive that evening.’
‘Everything he did was for his family and to make sure the bills had been paid. He was an unbelievable man,’ Mr Harris said.