Worrying detail in search for three missing friends off Tassie coast

·2-min read

The search continues for three Tasmanians who set out on a boat on Monday and failed to return, as a concerning detail emerges around the trio's mobile phones.

Isaiah Dixon, Thomas Courto and Bree-Anna Thomas, all from northwest Tasmania, set out on a half-cabin motorboat from Wynyard Boat Ramp on Monday at midday.

The trio had planned on being out at sea for three-to-four hours, however, a family member raised the alarm on Monday evening when they failed to return.

"The vessel was anchored and the three occupants were sitting on the beach," Tasmania Police Inspector Steve Jones said in a media release on Tuesday.

"The vessel then left Boat Harbour and headed towards Table Cape."

Isaiah Dixon (left), Thomas Courto and Bree-Anna Thomas set out on a boat on Monday afternoon and never returned. Source: Facebook
Isaiah Dixon (left), Thomas Courto and Bree-Anna Thomas set out on a boat on Monday afternoon and never returned. Source: Facebook

All three phones out of service

The half-cabin boat was equipped with the required safety equipment including flares, radio, EPIRB and flotation devices.

However the EPIRB [Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon] device on the vessel has not been activated and the last transmission from the mobile phones on board the boat is believed to be from 2.35pm on Monday.

Insp Jones said police have attempted to make contact with the mobile phones on the boat, but worryingly there has been no phone signal found among the three friends, the ABC reported.  

No debris found is 'positive sign'

Speaking to ABC radio on Wednesday, Surf Lifesaving Tasmania operations manager, Boyd Griggs said it was a "positive" sign that no debris has been found.

"My hope is they are sitting out in the middle of Bass Strait somewhere with a broken down vessel waiting to be rescued," he said.

The police said Isaiah Dixon had a boat licence and the boat belonged to his father, AAP reported.

Police say there is no suggestion of suspicious circumstances surrounding the disappearance.

The 17ft Caribbean half cab vessel is missing in the Bass Strait. Source: Tasmania Police via AAP
The 17ft Caribbean half-cabin vessel is missing in the Bass Strait. Source: Tasmania Police via AAP

Conditions deteriorated on Tuesday night and the sea and aerial search was suspended, though Tasmania Police continued to patrol the coastline overnight for sign of a flare or an emergency signal from the boat.

Winds and seas are forecast to pick up again later on Wednesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, the search area was widened to roughly 1400 sqkm from Devonport to Table Cape.

Tasmania Police wish to speak with anyone who had contact with Mr Dixon, Mr Courto and Ms Thomas on Monday afternoon.

"Police ask any member of the community considering entering the water in boat to assist, to speak to police first to ensure safety and a coordinated approach," police said in a statement on Tuesday.

With AAP

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting