Hopes fading for missing surfskier - Australia

Wednesday, 15 October 2008 03:41 | Written by 
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Editor: It's with a heavy heart that we publish this story - David Scheen from Victoria, Australia is missing after setting out on a training paddle yesterday.  I met David in Hawaii earlier this year where he paddled the Molokai Challenge - he's a strong paddler, but the story looks grim.  Keep him in your thoughts and let's hope for a positive outcome...

David Scheen
David Scheen, pictured in Hawaii in May this year

Heres the story from http://www.theage.com.au/.

"Hopes are fading for a 39-year-old surf skier missing since Monday off Victoria's rugged south-west coast.

Land and air searches will continue this morning amid windy and rainy conditions, but rough surf has delayed a sea search until at least this afternoon.

Searchers have already  found a broken surf kayak and life jacket believed to belong to international-class surf skier David Scheen, who competed in the Molokai World Solo Championships in May.

His hat was found about 150 metres offshore from the inlet yesterday and his mobile phone was found washed up on the Murnanes Bay beach.

The Peterborough man disappeared on Monday after setting off on a 20-kilometre training paddle from Murnanes Bay to Peterborough, near Warrnambool, 260 kilometres south-west of Melbourne.

Mr Scheen was seen by two tourists setting off from Childers Cove at 12.30pm, and the alarm was raised when he failed to return home by 5.40pm Monday.

State Emergency Service search co-ordinator Gerry Billings said police and SES workers will search the coastline between Stanhope Bay and Murnanes Bay today.

"There is a slim hope that we will find him alive, but those hopes are fading,'' Mr Billings said.

He said the rough seas meant boats could not get within about 400 metres of the area they needed to search.

A number of police are posted along the clifftops with binoculars, searching for any sign of the surf skier, Mr Billings said.

More than 30 people have now been involved in the search, including surf lifesavers from Port Campbell and CFA members from Peterborough."


This from "The Standard"

Rough seas stop boats as hunt for missing man continues


15/10/2008 10:49:00 AM

SEARCHERS are clinging to a slim hope that missing Peterborough surf skiier David Scheen is still alive.

They will continue to search the ocean around rugged cliffs around Childers Cove, near Allansford, this morning.

The 39-year-old international-class competitor disappeared on Monday afternoon after setting off on a 20-kilometre training paddle from Murnanes Bay to Peterborough.

Despite an extensive air-and-ground search since 5pm on Monday he still remains unaccounted for.

Ocean conditions for the past two days have been described as ``fairly treacherous''.

Dangerous surf conditions prevented boats being launched to join the search yesterday.

Mr Scheen's competition surf ski was found smashed against a rocky inlet just east of his launch site on Monday, along with a life vest.

Yesterday his hat was found about 150 metres offshore from the inlet and his mobile telephone on the Murnanes Bay beach.

SES controller Gerry Billings said members had searched the cliff faces and inland 500 metres from shore covering 1.5 kilometres east of the bay.

They did a low-tide sweep of the coastline early yesterday.

They were also searching the shoreline and cliffs precinct a further 2.5km west of the bay.

``These are fairly treacherous conditions and (Monday) night it was even rougher,'' Mr Billings said.

Search co-ordinator, Senior Sergeant Paul Hargreaves of Warrnambool police, told The Standard: ``We hold hope he has made his way to a safety point''.

Yesterday there was an easterly current with waves of one to two metres, a swell of four to five metres and severe turbulence around inlets.

"Conditions were not conducive to a water search and it was very hard to get in close to the rocky shore," Senior Sergeant Hargreaves said.

"We are relying on the airwing and ground searches to check rock crevices and smaller caves."

Mr Scheen was last seen by tourists as he headed into the ocean about 12.30pm Monday.

The Melbourne district pair, who had been admiring the scenery on their way to Darwin, contacted police yesterday after a plea for information.

"They told us how they watched as he went into the water. He got hit by a couple of waves and righted himself before paddling off towards the headland," Senior Sergeant Hargreaves said.

"Two other young people driving a New South Wales-registered Ford were also there and we would like to hear from them also."

About 30 searchers including the police air wing, search and rescue and marine unit, police from Warrnambool, Timboon and Port Campbell, SES crews from Warrnambool and Port Campbell, surf lifesavers from Port Campbell and CFA members from Peterborough have been involved.



Just in from ABC News

Search for missing kayaker scaled down

Searchers in southwest Victoria do not expect to find a missing kayaker alive.

Dave Scheen, 39, of Peterborough was last seen launching his kayak at Childers Cove west of Port Campbell on Monday afternoon.

The search of the coastline has recovered a smashed kayak, a life vest and the man's mobile phone.

This morning, the State Emergency Service (SES) scaled down the search.

SES co-ordinator Gary Billings, says volunteers will be watching to see if the man's body is washed ashore.

"We are looking for a body I believe at this stage, because its fairly rough conditions out there for somebody to survive in those conditions is fairly remote," he said.

Mr Scheen's mother, Robin Scheen is shocked at her son's disappearance.

She said her son was an experienced kayaker.

"[It was] a very unexpected outcome for one of David's training sessions because he was always very professional in his attitude training, safety and health in his sporting activities," she said.

"As a family, we are deeply saddened."





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