Night fishing trip claims life
THE last anyone heard of fisherman David James was a voice calling out in the dark, as he and his friend tried to stay afloat after falling overboard in the Great Sandy Strait.
A desperate search for the 25-year-old ended in tragedy yesterday, when his body was found in waters off Fraser Island.
The Maryborough dad had planned to sit on a bank and go fishing with his 31-year-old friend, but their tinny developed engine troubles during the trip on Friday night.
It is believed Mr James, a mechanic, had been trying to charge a battery to start the motor, when he slipped and fell into the water about midnight.
His friend went in after him, and both were immediately swept away by the current.
Both men managed to float on their backs and call to each other for some time, before losing contact about three hours later.
The older man managed to get hold of a boat near Kingfisher Bay and made it safely to dry land about 3am on Saturday, but Mr James had disappeared.
Water police and the AGL Action Rescue helicopter scoured the seas all day on Saturday to no avail.
When there was still no sign of him by Sunday, his fiancee Rhiannon "RJ" Hodges, posted a frantic message on Facebook urging boat-owners to help in the search.
"We are preparing to start our own search for my fiancee David James," she posted.
"SES can only do so much and have covered a lot of land and water by chopper, plane, boat and foot... but there is so much more to cover."
Ms Hodges, who also uses her partner's surname James, said while her fiancee was a strong swimmer, it was believed he had been hampered by the tracksuit pants and long sleeved shirt he had been wearing.
"He kicked his clothes off, so he would have just been in boxers," she said.
Neither man was believed to have been wearing a lifejacket.