VIA – SMH
Qld man killed in apparent croc attack
December 6, 2011 – 6:19PM
A Cairns barge captain has been killed in an apparent crocodile attack in waters off the Cape York peninsula.
David Fordson, 49, was found dead in remote waters near Bushie Islet, six kilometres from the Queensland coastline on Tuesday.
There has yet to be a post mortem.
Mr Fordson, the master of the Torres Star barge, went on a spearfishing break with another crew member on Monday because his vessel was running ahead of schedule.
When Mr Fordson failed to return to the moored boat, the other man raised the alarm, sparking an air and sea search throughout Monday afternoon and night.
Police, who have also discovered some of Mr Fordson’s equipment, said there was evidence he had been injured by a “marine animal”.
Meyric Slimming, director of Silent World Shipping, who own the barge, said Mr Fordson was a great friend and colleague.
“I didn’t see Dave all the time because he was often out on the boat for periods of time, but he was a fantastic Aussie bloke,” Mr Slimming told AAP.
“It’s all still sinking in, to be honest.”
He said counselling would be available to the company’s 15 Cairns staff.
Inspector Mark Jackson said a post-mortem examination would be conducted and the death was not being treated as suspicious.
He told AAP there were no known crocodile attacks in the area.
“It’s a very remote area,” he said.
“It’s 60 nautical miles from Thursday Island (and) there’s no population anywhere near it,” he said.
“It’s just a shipping channel. It’s not a place that many people go fishing, so you wouldn’t find reports of crocodiles.
“But it needs to be said that there are crocodiles all over northern Australia.”
However, University of Queensland research biologist Hamish Campbell said he suspected a bull shark was a more likely culprit.
“I’d be very surprised if it was a crocodile,” Dr Campbell told AAP.
“Because when a croc attacks a human…”
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