A popular fishing expert and radio host is feared dead after police found his abandoned belongings near croc-infested waters.
Roman Butchaski, otherwise known as “Butch” from the 2GB Fishing Show disappeared in far north Queensland on Sunday while solo-fishing on a river bank in The Cape York Peninsula.
On Tuesday morning, journalist Harry Clark from the Country Caller told 2GB’s Ben Fordham Mr Butchaski’s fishing gear had been discovered ahead of a third day of major search and rescue operations.
“The latest is that the search finished yesterday afternoon and there are air and land searches scheduled to continue again this morning,” Mr Clark said.
“He borrowed a buggy from a friend (and) travelled about an hour to go fishing along the banks of the Olive River. All that they’ve found of Butch is that vehicle and a few personal effects such as a fishing rod that was found on Sunday afternoon, and he hasn’t been seen since.”
“The Olive River is a tidal saltwater river and like all waterways in that area they are known crocodile habitats so that’s certainly one of things search crews are taking into consideration as they look for Butch.”
Butchaski’s former co-host Gavin Pitchford also told 2GB Mr Butchaski suffered from diabetes and may have had an episode, although “he walks the banks up there regularly and has been fishing there forever”.
It comes as Butchaski is identified as the man who was reported missing near Shelbourne on Sunday evening when he didn’t return home from a fishing trip.
He was last seen at 8am that day.
Rescue helicopter crews and police have spent three straight days combing the region from dawn to nightfall as fears mount for his safety.
“Emergency services were called to the area late last night night after he failed to return,” Queensland Police said on Monday.
“Additional officers are travelling from Bamaga this morning to assist.”
The report comes as another fisherman, 65-year-old man Kevin Darmody, was found dead in May after he went missing on the Kenney River at Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park in far north Queensland.
His remains were tragically discovered in the stomachs of two crocodiles shot dead by rangers during the search and rescue operation.
Two years ago the 2021 death of Andrew Heard, a fisherman who was killed in the first recorded instance of two crocodiles predating a human, sparked a Queensland inquiry into the rising trend of fisherman deaths in the region.