Search for fisher at sea since Friday
The search for a Karratha fisherman thought to have been missing for four days was continuing at the time the Pilbara News went to print on Monday afternoon.
Norman Leslie Bale, 52, of Millars Well, launched his 3.6m aluminium dinghy from Karratha Back Beach about 5.30pm on Friday.
He was reported missing by friend and work colleague Stuart Bullen about 7.30pm on Sunday.
Witnesses who saw him leave the boat ramp said he was wearing a T-shirt and shorts, had a bright orange esky on board and did not appear to be experiencing issues with his motor or other equipment.
He is believed to have gone out without safety equipment such as an EPIRB or a life jacket.
Mr Bullen alerted police soon after going to his house to pick him up for work and noticing he had not returned from his fishing trip.
He said it was out-of-character behaviour for Mr Bale as “he’s normally really conscientious about work”.
A police search on Monday was assisted by West Pilbara Volunteer Sea Search and Rescue Group and Port Walcott Volunteer Marine Rescue. Senior Sergeant Andy Stevens told a press conference police were facing difficulties because of the “huge” search area covering 94 square nautical miles over water, land and in the air.
Conditions on Monday had been clear for the search and police were intending to expand the on-water effort when tides rose later in the afternoon, with assistance from the army.
Sen. Sgt Stevens said Mr Bale was an experienced fisherman who had lived in WA for six years and worked as a concreter.
“We think he’s encountered some conditions he wasn’t quite prepared for,” he said.
“We don’t think he had a full stock of emergency equipment and some incident’s happened that’s caused him to be delayed.”