Search update – possible distress flare near Maria Island

Police will this afternoon reassess an extensive search after a possible distress flare was seen in the Maria Island area yesterday afternoon.

The search, which has involved police including the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and the Police Vessel Vigilant as well as Surf Lifesaving volunteers, has so far failed to locate any vessels, people or debris in the area.

No-one has reported a boat failing to return from sea, and checks with the owners of all trailers at boat ramps in the area have accounted for all boats.

Police were notified by Australian Maritime Safety Authority about 3.10pm yesterday about the possible distress flare, which was sighted from a commercial aircraft.

Senior Constable Callum Herbert, of the Marine and Rescue Division, said that the search would be concluded this afternoon unless any further information came to light.

“We encourage people to use flares if they are in any form of danger or require assistance,” Senior Constable Herbert said.

“If a person self-rescues and no longer requires police assistance, we encourage them to report this to authorities in any event as search and rescue operations are a significant response and may put police and volunteers at unnecessary risk.”

Anyone with information should contact Police on 131444 or report anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or

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