Debris located as search for missing boatie enters second day

Debris found: Debris believed to be from the missing vessel Margrel, has been taken to Goolwa Police Station. Photo: SAPOL.

Debris found: Debris believed to be from the missing vessel Margrel, has been taken to Goolwa Police Station. Photo: SAPOL.

Police are currently investigating reports of debris being located near the Murray Mouth, as the search for missing boatie Tony Higgins enters its second day.

Just after 6.30am on Wednesday, September 23, police received a call from a local commercial fisherman after he had discovered a number of items of debris washed ashore several kilometres south-east from the Murray Mouth.

Debris (pictured) has since been recovered which appears consistent with items from the missing boat the Margrel and has been taken to Goolwa Police Station.

Patrols and the police helicopter (PolAir) are making their way to the area to conduct a coastal search, while a fixed wing aircraft will focus on searching open waters in the same area.

The search for Mr Higgins began on Tuesday morning, after his vessel the Margrel, was blown off its moorings near Granite Island, Victor Harbor, amid high winds and rough seas.

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

Missing: Goolwa boatie Tony Higgins and his vessel the Margrel have been missing since 5am Tuesday morning, September 22. Photo: Fleurieu Multimedia.

Missing: Goolwa boatie Tony Higgins and his vessel the Margrel have been missing since 5am Tuesday morning, September 22. Photo: Fleurieu Multimedia.

Sea Rescue volunteers and police combed waters around Hayborough and Encounter Bay until about 10am, when rough conditions impeded search efforts.

The search continued from the air and moved south-east toward the Coorong and Murray Mouth as the day progressed.

PolAir and SAPOL's fixed wing aircraft were assisted by a Challenger aircraft provided by AMSA (Australian Maritime Safety Authority), which searched the area until 11pm last night using infrared radar equipment.

Debris located in the water around 4.30pm yesterday by aircraft is currently being examined.

A coastal search resumed this morning at first light using PolAir and vehicles.

According to police, the Margrel was last seen anchored off Granite Island about 3pm on Monday.

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.

Anyone who has had contact with the man or saw the vessel after 3pm yesterday, is urged to call the Police Assistance Line immediately on 131444.