Tragic update in search for missing Aussie dad who vanished off Thursday Island

Hope is fading that a new father missing in far north Queensland will be found as police say they are scaling down the search for the experienced outrigger canoeist who has been missing now for more than four days.

Denne Bourke was last seen on Wednesday afternoon when he was paddling his canoe in the Torres Strait. Authorities say the man's canoe was located that afternoon about 100 metres from Thursday Island.

The 38-year-old father of a three-month-old baby is a popular local identity in the Torres Strait, who recently made coffee for Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the ABC reports.

He was reportedly making a common journey between Thursday and Horn islands with his hat later being found on rocks between the two islands.

Denne Bourk pictured. Google satellite images of Thursday Island
Denne Bourk was paddling between Thursday and Horn island when he disappeared. Source: Facebook/Google Maps

An extensive aerial, vessel and ground search was undertaken and has so far failed to locate Mr Bourke. On Sunday evening, police said the search would be scaled down.

"Queensland Police has been assisted by federal partner agencies and a large contingent of local vessels from the Thursday Island Community during search efforts," they said in a statement. Department of Environment and Science Wildlife Officers were also assisting but failed to locate any signs of the local man.

"Queensland Police Service will continue water and aerial searches however land based shoreline searches have been suspended."

Denne Bourk pictured with NBA star Pattie Mills and partner at his coffee van.
Denne Bourk with NBA star Pattie Mills and partner at his coffee van. Source: Facebook

Despite the news, the local community was still hoping for a miracle as air and sea searches continue on Monday.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Denne, [partner] Georgia, their families and their wider Torres Straits OCC family. Such a terrible time for them," the Townsville Outrigger Canoe Club posted on Facebook on Sunday.

While locals have rallied to assist in the search, the Cape York Weekly described it as an "awful week for the region".

"Family and friends would like to thank the community for their support and efforts with the search and rescue," Queensland Police said in a statement.

"They are very grateful for the local community’s quick and detailed response. The kindness and generosity during this difficult time has been greatly appreciated."

Thursday Island township in the Torres Strait, north Queensland. Source: AAP
Thursday Island township in the Torres Strait, north Queensland. Source: AAP

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