Search for missing Gold Coast jet-ski rider scaled back

UPDATE @ 4.00PM December 31 | Police will scale back the search for a jet-ski rider missing in waters off the Gold Coast with hopes of finding him alive all but gone.

Tony Schilperoort, 54, hasn’t been seen since setting off from Muriel Henchman Park boat ramp on Sunday morning.

His abandoned jet-ski was found on Sunday afternoon around 15 kms offshore.


A massive search spanning 500 sq kms was launched stretching as far as Pottsville on the New South Wales north coast.

After scouring waters again today, Police have today confirmed they will wind down the operation after finding no trace of the Labrador man.

Water Police will continue to conduct patrols across the Coast.

Police say Mr Schilperoort’s family has been notified.

Officers have thanked all agencies involved in the search and members of the community for their assistance.

EARLIER @ 6.30AM December 31 | POLICE have confirmed they will continue their search for a jet-ski rider, missing off the Gold Coast for two days.

54-year-old Tony Schilperoort hasn’t been seen since setting off on Sunday morning, his ski found floating in the water around 15kms east of Main Beach on Sunday afternoon.

“Today’s search will again involve multiple vessels from the Queensland Water Police and other volunteer agencies,” Queensland Police said in a statement on Tuesday morning.

“Aerial assets including helicopters will also be part of the search today.”

UPDATE @ 11.30AM | A major search spanning 500 sq km off the Gold Coast is continuing today for a jet-ski rider missing since yesterday afternoon.

Tony Schilperoort, 54, hasn’t been seen since setting off from the Muriel Henchman boat ramp around 9am on Sunday morning.

His jet-ski was located about 15 kms off Main Beach around 1.30pm on Sunday but there has been no sign of the Labrador man.

Mr Schiliperoort’s car and jet-ski trailer were later found at the boat ramp, sparking a massive search involving Water Police, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Volunteer Marine Rescue, Coast Guard and Surf Lifesaving Queensland.

The search was suspended around 1am and resumed this morning at first light.

Officer in charge of Gold Coast Water Police, Senior Seregant Jay Notaro concedes the search will be difficult given the huge size of the area they are scouring.

“It’s about 500 square kilometres and it goes all the way from Broadbeach to Pottsville, and to give you an indication of the size it extends about 15 kilometres off Point Danger,” Senior Sergeant Notaro said.

Police say conditions yesterday were very good and the jet-ski was found with no obvious signs of any damage.

Image: QPS

The semi-retired electrician was an experienced jet-ski rider but officers say they haven’t been able to work out what his plans were yesterday.

“We’re really not sure but he does fish, but he also goes out and just enjoys the time out there as well so we’re unsure of that at the moment,” Snr Sergeant Notaro said.

Police are confident Mr Schiliperoort was wearing a life jacket.

“Every time we’ve spoken to Tony he he has been wearing a life jacket, there’s nothing to indicate he wasn’t yesterday.

“At the moment were not sure of the exact life jacket but when we have seen him previously the life jacket he was wearing was bright orange on top and black underneath.”

Image: QPS

Police say they’ve been in regular contact with Tony’s family and their priority is to find him alive.

“The family are aware that time is critical in these instances and we’re putting every effort into doing just that and locate him and bring him home to his loved ones.

“His family are obviously struggling as anyone would but they’re holding hope, as are we.”

EARLIER @ 5.49AM by Rebecca Dakin | A MASSIVE air and sea search continues this morning for a man missing in waters off the Gold Coast.

A frantic operation began on Sunday afternoon, after the man’s upturned jet-ski was found drifting around 13km east of the Seaway by a passing vessel around 1.30pm.

Police have since confirmed they believe they are looking for a 54-year-old Labrador man, after his car and trailer were located at the Main Beach boat ramp.

“Police have spoken to the man’s family and continue to liaise closely with them,” a Queensland Police statement read.

A multi-agency land, sea and air search tracked areas from Southport all the way down to Coolangatta but had to be called off around 1am but recommenced around 5am.

Multiple vessels from the Queensland Water Police (Gold Coast, Redlands and Brisbane) as well as the Coast Guard, Volunteer Marine Rescue and Surf Life Saving Queensland are involved in the search.

Aerial assets include helicopters from Polair, Rescue 500 and SLSQ, as well as fixed wing aircraft from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Crews remain hopeful of a good outcome, believing the man was wearing a life jacket when he headed out on the water.