A four-metre crocodile has been found near the vessel of missing Hinchinbrook Island fisherman Andrew Heard on Saturday afternoon.
A crocodile suspected to have taken missing Hinchinbrook Island fisherman Andrew Heard has been found near his vessel, wildlife officers have confirmed.
The grim discovery comes after wildlife officers located what are believed to be human remains the night before.
Mr Heard, 69, was last seen about 3pm on Thursday to go fishing in Gayundah Creek off Hinchinbrook Island.
Authorities feared he had been taken by a crocodile.
A four-metre crocodile was located this afternoon near where Mr Heard’s vessel was found.
A Department of Environment and Science spokesman said the animal was euthanised and taken back to the mainland.
A necropsy will be conducted in due course.
Police believe the human remains located on Friday are those of the missing man but forensic testing will be undertaken for confirmation.
Friends had been sending prayers and well wishes for the Queensland man in the hours after his disappearance.
Mr Heard said goodbye to his wife Erica about 3pm on Thursday but has not returned since.
Friends of the victim — who was a life member at the Cairns Cruising Yacht Squadron — have since taken to social media to send well wishes.
“Prayers you come home safe mate and all my heart going out to Erica,” one person wrote.
“Shocked, worried and heartbroken are the only words that come to mind,” another said.
“I’m praying for you mate!,” a third posted.
Mr Heard’s wife contacted police about 8.30pm after her husband had not returned and couldn’t be reached via radio.
The search began Thursday night and officers found the man’s 2m boat capsized and with some damage at about 2.30am on Friday morning.
Inspector Andrew Cowie said Mr Heard was reasonably experienced and was on-board “a mother vessel”.
“The search is restricted to coastline and creeks, however we are also looking at searches through water as well,” he said.
Inspector Cowie said crews would continue their search for Mr Heard until it was no longer viable.
“Obviously significant concerns given the environmental conditions in that area … As long as there’s a chance that he is alive it will continue.”
Mr Heard’s wife has been “distressed” but “very thankful” for the support she has been given during the search, according to Inspector Cowie.
He asked anyone that was in the area to keep an eye out along the coastline and advised people who went fishing in the waters to have safety equipment with them.
Queensland‘s Department of Environment and Science later issued a statement saying it was “highly likely” he was attacked by a crocodile.
“Departmental experts on the ground have examined the vessel and determined that it is highly likely that a crocodile is involved, however the exact circumstances and sequence of events remain unknown,” it read.
“A search for the animal is now underway.”