WA sailor's mystery death investigated


The mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of a sailor off the West Australian coast are being investigated by the state's water police.

The body of 69-year-old Roger Liebmann was found floating near his catamaran on Thursday morning after a major search.

Mr Liebmann left the Koombana Bay Sailing Club at Bunbury in his 18-foot catamaran about noon (WST) on Wednesday.

The search began when there was no sign of him by nightfall.

Five vessels, three helicopters and one aircraft scoured an area 250 square nautical miles off Koombana Bay.

About 9.35 (WST) on Thursday, a rescue aircraft found the catamaran and Mr Liebmann's body floating close by.

Acting Inspector Mark Smith said the family was devastated by the tragedy.

"It is way too premature to speculate on the cause of death, but we can confirm he was in the water with the vessel," Insp Smith said.

No emergency beacon was detected by authorities, and the sea conditions were favourable.

Rescuers said they found the catamaran in an upright position with its mast broken.

Mr Liebmann's family were too distraught to comment, but Koombana Bay Sailing Club Commodore David Doherty said the loss of Mr Liebmann was a very sad day for the club and the community.