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Missing kayaker search continues

Relatives of missing kayaker Michael Barnes are escorted by Emerald police to the Selma Weir search site.
Relatives of missing kayaker Michael Barnes are escorted by Emerald police to the Selma Weir search site. Tara Miko, CQ News

RELATIVES of a kayaker missing, feared drowned at Selma Weir in Emerald broke down as they witnessed the search yesterday.

Family members of Emerald resident Michael William Barnes arrived to find efforts to find him hampered by fast-flowing deep water at the weir.

Mr Barnes and his friend Michael McLucas were kayaking on the Nogoa River on Sunday morning when their kayaks capsized.

Mr McLucas managed to swim to safety and raised the alarm with emergency services. But despite a widespread search there have been no signs of the missing man.

Police said they believe the pair were paddling upstream in separate kayaks when they got too close to the weir's overflow.

Emerald officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Peter McFarlane said:

"We had SES and the Care Flight helicopter searching this morning, and unfortunately we have not located the missing person.

"We are still searching the water, the banks and the river system."

An ambulance was guided onto the banks of the Nogoa River about 2.15pm yesterday, but Snr Sgt McFarlane said it was a precautionary measure.

"We have people searching a fairly slippery area on the weir wall and they were here for standby," he said.

"We haven't used divers at this stage.

"We have a dive squad attending possibly (today) to assess the situation but at this stage, based on (the) water coming over the wall, it's far too dangerous."

Snr Sgt McFarlane said the search for Mr Barnes, feared to be a recovery mission, would resume at first light this morning.

Topics:  michael william barnes, missing man, nogoa river, selma weir


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