Body of missing sailor found
Police look over the trailer of the missing sailor. Picture: David Bailey

UPDATE 1.15pm: The body of a South West sailor who failed to return from a trip on his catamaran has been found.

Roger Liebmann, 69, left Koombana Bay Sailing Club about midday but did not return last night.

The Donnybrook man was reported missing at 10.20pm.

His 18-foot vessel with white pontoons and red and white striped sails was found upturned at 9.35am today after a massive search.

Bunbury Sea Rescue skipper Eliot Fisher said the missing man’s catamaran was found north-west of Bunbury, 21km off the coast by a search plane.

The catamaran was upright but had a broken mast.

Two Water Police vessels, two Busselton Sea Rescue vessels, one Bunbury Sea Rescue vessel, one fixed wing aircraft, the Police helicopter and two additional helicopters searched an area of 250 square nautical miles off Bunbury from first light.

A Busselton Marine Sea Rescue vessel is helping bring the catamaran to shore.

Acting Inspector Mark Smith described conditions yesterday as “very favourable” with low winds.

Roger Liebmann.

He said a member of the man’s family raised the alarm after he failed to return at nightfall last night.

The man had not activated an EPIRB emergency beacon.

Insp. Smith said it was unclear whether the man had been wearing a life jacket when his body was found with the vessel this morning.

The cause of his death is not yet known.

“It's a tragic event, the family are devastated," Insp. Smith said.

Koombana Bay Sailing Club commodore David Doherty earlier described the missing man as a capable and experienced sailor.

He said the sailor had been involved in the club for about 20 years.

The sailor had revoked his membership in recent years due to a back injury, but he said the man was still occasionally seen out on the water.

Mr Doherty said the sailor left the club about 1pm. His car was still parked at the club this morning.

He said the south-easterly winds yesterday were likely to have taken his catamaran out to sea.

Water Police coordinated the search in conjunction with the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra.

The West Australian

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