Crocodile suspected in boatie's disappearance
A MAN who has been missing from Weipa for almost a week may have been taken by a large 3.5m crocodile while trying to move his boat.
Earlier in the week police said Anthony Vanharen, 42, was last seen with his boat at Winning Point on the northern side of Mission River - a known crocodile habitat - on April 30.
His boat was then found washed ashore and unattended last Saturday by police.
Weipa police Acting Insp Kevin Goan said new information had recently come to hand suggesting Mr Vanharen had been attempting to move his boat after it became stuck on the sand during low tide.
He said the area was well known for crocodiles and other predators, with a huge 5m animal known to inhabit the area, but they believed a 3.5m reptile may have been responsible for Mr Vanharen's disappearance.
Police, working with National Parks and Wildlife officers, began surveys of the area yesterday.
Acting Insp Goan said they had also utilised special drones belonging to Rio Tinto to survey the area last night using night vision technology.
"(The surveys showed) there were a number of crocs inside the search area," he said.
Police conducted an extensive land, air and river search involving SES personnel on foot and on ATVs, Rescue 700 helicopter, drones and Volunteer Marine Rescue vessel as part of the search.
Acting Insp Goan said given how "well defined" the search area was between the shoreline, road and train line, it was unlikely Mr Vanharen had become lost on land.
"The survivability for a lost person is high because you would be able to find your way out," he said.
Mr Vanharen last had contact with his family on April 29 and police have said he was usually in regular contact with them.
Acting Insp Goan said he was known to live on his boat.
Police will decide later today how the search will continue over the weekend.
Originally published as Croc attack suspected in man's disappearance