Distraught relatives of a missing paddler have arrived in Queensland as a chopper, a fleet of vessels and land-based crews continue to search for him off Brisbane.
Police hold grave fears for 26-year-old Jordan Kelly who became separated from his mate Jack McDonald while they were paddling their surf skis around North Stradbroke Island on Saturday.
Both ended up in the water when Mr McDonald’s ski started to sink. The 28-year-old has told police his friend Jordan “slipped away” after exhaustion set in.
Mr McDonald was able to paddle to safety, making it to Amity Point Wharf on the island at about 8pm, about seven hours after they got into trouble.
On Monday, police could not confirm media reports that the second ski had been found in the ocean.
The search is continuing with the assistance of a helicopter and a dozen vessels. Other teams are checking the shorelines of North Stradbroke and nearby Moreton islands.
Members of Mr Kelly’s family have arrived from New Zealand, with others on their way.
Police have shared Mr McDonald’s account of what happened.
He told authorities they set off from Dunwich, on the mainland side of the island, and intended to paddle around the top of the island to Cylinder Beach, on the ocean-facing side before heading back again.
But about 1.30pm on Saturday, Mr McDonald’s ski started to sink.
“Jordan has paddled over to assist him. They’ve both held onto that ski until such a time, after dark, that they’ve just become weak and tired from being in the water and unfortunately Jordan slipped away,” Acting Senior Sergeant Mitch Gray said.
The men were not wearing life jackets and sea conditions on the exposed side of the island were hazardous, he said.
“As time goes on, certainly we become more and more concerned we’re not going to have a happy ending to this scenario.”