Police continue second sea rescue search for Goolwa boatie Tony Higgins

Missing: Goolwa Boatie Tony Higgins is once again missing at sea. File photo: Fleurieu Multimedia.
Missing: Goolwa Boatie Tony Higgins is once again missing at sea. File photo: Fleurieu Multimedia.

Update: Debris spotted

Debris has been spotted in waters off the Murray Mouth.

Floating debris, located about three kilometres south of the Murray Mouth was spotted by rescue crews from the air at about 5pm.

A Police spokesperson confirmed a helicopter had since travelled to the area, but it is currently unknown if this debris came from the Margrel.

The spokesperson confirmed rescue efforts would continue until sunset before recommencing at Dawn on Wednesday morning, September 23.

Police continue search

Police are continuing a second sea rescue search for Goolwa boatie Tony Higgins, after his vessel the Margrel, was blown off its moorings near Granite Island in the early hours of Tuesday morning, September 22.

Police received a distress call at about 5am, with Mr Higgins reportedly knee deep in water aboard his vessel.

Rescue crews were initially mobilised to waters off Hayborough, where a sea and air search began.

Search efforts have since moved south east of Victor Harbor toward the Coorong and Murray Mouth.

As of 2.30pm, rescue crews have been unable to locate Mr Higgins or the Margrel.

Victor Harbor Goolwa Sea Rescue volunteers returned to shore earlier this morning, with rough conditions impeding search efforts.

Speaking from the Bluff Boat ramp at about 10am, Squadron Leader Grant Williams said sea based search efforts were being suspended, but the squadron would return to the water when conditions improved, if required by police.

Rough seas: Sea Rescue Squadron boats returned to Victor Harbor at about 10am, with conditions being too rough to continue search efforts.

Rough seas: Sea Rescue Squadron boats returned to Victor Harbor at about 10am, with conditions being too rough to continue search efforts.

A police spokesperson said search efforts were ongoing and they would remain on site until the Margrel was located.

Police air assets including a helicopter and a plane are currently in operation as part of the search efforts.

Conditions in waters off the Fleurieu Peninsula are currently extremely poor, with strong winds buffeting the coastline.

A severe weather warning had been issued for the region by the Bureau of Meteorology on Monday morning and the Granite Island Causeway was closed, due to winds exceeding 100 km/h.

This latest search effort comes less than two weeks after Mr Higgins and his crewmate Derek Robinson were rescued after spending more than four days missing at sea, in the state's largest ever sea rescue operation which covered over 104,000 square kilometres.

Mr Higgins was charged with a number of offences including having an expired EPIRB and flares, and holding an inappropriate licence. He was issued with a $1000 fine.

Up until this morning, Mr Higgins had remained moored off Granite Island since his first rescue, carrying out repairs to the Margrel.

SA Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the first sea rescue operation had cost about $650,000.

"There is an element of frustration that the state's resources are being dedicated to this for the second time," Mr Stevens said.

"We have an obligation to ensure the safety of all South Australians and search and rescue operations will always be undertaken, but there is an obligation that sits with all of us to act in a way that doesn't put ourselves at risk, or put other people at risk.

"It is somewhat disappointing that we are doing this again."