An elderly man who drowned off Western Australia's Kimberley coast may have been trying to swim back to shore after he and three friends abandoned their sinking boat.
The men, all in their 70s, alerted authorities after their boat began taking on water early on Monday morning off the coast of Broome.
Police made contact but soon lost communication and the men abandoned the vessel.
Three of the men swam to another nearby boat but the fourth is believed to have attempted to swim to shore.
"Unfortunately he appears to have succumbed to the conditions of the ocean," senior sergeant Dave Withnell told ABC radio.
He was found dead a couple of hours later by marine rescue volunteers.
Snr Sgt Withnell said the men, who had recently been on a cruise along the Kimberley coast, had initially attempted to get onto a small dinghy attached to their boat.
"They were maybe taken by surprise of the quickness of the vessel sinking ... maybe things happened so suddenly that they didn't have time to grab those life jackets," he said.
The boat may have been damaged during their cruise, he added.
Police will prepare a report for the coroner. WA's Department of Transport will also prepare a maritime safety investigation report.