Queensland police say human remains found at Hinchinbrook Island, north of Townsville, are likely to be those of a fisherman missing since Thursday and suspected of falling victim to a crocodile.
Andrew Heard, 69, was last seen on Thursday afternoon headed toward Gayundah Creek on the north-western side of Hinchinbrook Island in a 2.5 metre dinghy.
His wife raised the alarm when he failed to return to their yacht that evening and she could not raise him by two-way radio.
On Saturday morning, Queensland police released a statement confirming Department of Environment and Science (DES) wildlife officers had found human remains on Friday night.
“At this stage, police believe the remains are those of the missing man, however forensic testing will be required to confirm this,” the statement said.
Later on Saturday authorities euthanised a four-metre crocodile they believe may killed Mr Heard.
It was found close to where the Mr Heard’s boat was discovered.
“Officers have humanely euthanised the animal and it has been transported back to the mainland,” the DES said in a statement.
“A necropsy will be conducted in due course.”
‘Doing what he loved best’
On social media, the Cairns Cruising Yacht Squadron praised Mr Heard as a “legendary bloke”.
“He died doing what he loved best with the woman he loved the most,” the yacht squadron posted.
Yacht squadron commodore John Stewart said Mr Heard was a life member was always helpful to club members with any issues they had.
“Every time you meet him, he’s always on with a smile and a chat and he’s always free with his advice,” Mr Stewart said.
“His knowledge of sailing was endless. He’s just one of those really nice guys to know.”
Squadron member Jason Hedges, who had known Mr Heard for 25 years, said he would be dearly missed.
“I’m going to be pretty annoyed that he’s not gonna be here to answer my boating questions or give us moral support or help us out through the tough times in life anymore,” he said.
Mr Heard’s dinghy was found capsized and damaged in the early hours of Friday morning during an aerial and water search around the island.
Police said experts who examined the dinghy determined it was highly likely a crocodile had been involved.