The friend of a missing surf skier has told police they paddled for hours getting nowhere in one of Queensland’s most treacherous sand bars.
A search is continuing in Moreton Bay for 26-year-old Jordan Kelly, who went missing in waters off North Stradbroke Island on Saturday.
Mr Kelly and his friend Jack McDonald, 28, were reported missing on Saturday afternoon after they failed to arrive at their camping spot at Cylinder Beach.
They had left the township of Dunwich on North Stradbroke on surf skis about 10.30am.
Mr McDonald made it to shore late on Saturday and has been assisting police with the search for his friend.
Acting Senior Sergeant Mitch Gray said eight boats and four jet skis resumed the search for Mr Kelly early on Monday.
“Today we’ll be looking from the tips of Moreton Island … from the northern tip to the most southern tip, and we’re looking inside the bay and certainly offshore as well.”
He said Mr McDonald had a “traumatic” experience on Saturday and had described his ordeal to police.
“Jack’s upset. He’s very concerned for his friend, as are we,” he said.
“He told us that it was around 1.30pm … they were paddling into South Passage Bar and they were having a little bit of difficulty trying to stay on their surf skis.
“They fell off a number of times, then Jack’s actual surf ski started taking on water.
“Jordan’s paddled over to help him and they’ve ended up just sort of hanging on to Jordan’s ski.
“[With] hypothermia, cold temperatures and the water, it’s extremely difficult to hang on to objects.
“The colder you get your physical functions of your hands and things become difficult to utilise.
“At some point, you know, Jordan’s let go of the ski, and they’ve drifted away and when Jack could no longer see him, he’s gone for help, and paddled as fast as he could back to Amity Point.”
In trouble close to shore
Mr Gray said the pair were not wearing life jackets.
“They’d planned a relatively short journey that wasn’t going to involve the white water,” he said.
“They were going to try to paddle close to the beach, so if something had happened they could make it back to the beach.
“But something’s taken a turn there, which we still need to explore. That’s still part of the ongoing investigation.
“Geographically where they were, it’s not that far from land or sand bank, it’s just that passage of waters is probably one of the most dangerous bars in Queensland at times, and there’s a lot of strong currents.
“Jack sort of told us that they paddled and they paddled and they paddled – and they literally didn’t move off the same spot, you know, over sort of five or six hours.”
Senior Sergeant Gray said Mr McDonald was wearing a GPS watch when they got into trouble and this had helped narrow the search area.
“We’ve been able to actually download that … and it’s been able to show their journey while they were on the water and that’s sort of narrowed our search area down,” Senior Sergeant Gray said.
Mr Kelly’s family has also arrived from New Zealand and will join in the search.
“I picked the mum, dad and the brothers up from the airport last night and spent some time with them,” Senior Sergeant Gray said.
“They’re going to come here to the Water Police base where we’ll provide them the information they need.
“Then we’re going to get them off to North Stradbroke Island, where they’re going to help with some beach searches and things like that for us.”
Mr Gray said the search will continue at least until Thursday.