River mystery -- Search for Tweed man enters day six

THE search for missing Tweed man Sean Staunton will be stepped up from today.

Queensland Water Police are expected to join rescue crews to search the Tweed River mouth and surrounds for any sign of the father who went missing more than five days ago.

Inspector Robert Taylor from Tweed Heads Police said today's search would again focus on the Tweed River in the Chinderah area, where Mr Staunton's five-year-old son was found floating unconscious in the water on Thursday afternoon, but would also see the river mouth, surrounding ocean and coastal areas searched.

"Three jet skis from the Surf Life Saving Support Group were searching the area across the bar this afternoon, and will continue their search tomorrow," Insp Taylor said yesterday.

"Queensland Water Police are on stand-by to join the search and will help Point Danger VMR with their search along the coastline and across the bar.

"The fact the man's dinghy was found just across the river from Chinderah at Oxley Cove on Friday also indicates we should continue the search of the river."

A lifejacket handed in by a member of the public to a VMR volunteer on Sunday afternoon is still being investigated by police, Insp Taylor said, although it is unknown whether it is linked to Mr Staunton's disappearance.

"We are still trying to confirm whether it is related to the disappearance of Mr Staunton, because at this stage we do not know where it was found," he said.

"We will continue to make enquiries about the life jacket."

A fisherman not far from where the boy was pulled from the water on Thursday told the Tweed Daily News that he had seen a man and a small boy heading out in a small boat, and was concerned that the boy was not wearing a lifejacket.

It is not known if Mr Staunton was wearing a lifejacket, Insp Taylor said.

Meanwhile, police are hoping to speak with the man's son, whose name had not been released, sometime today, as he is expected to be released from Brisbane's Mater Hospital, where he was transferred for treatment on Thursday.

"The boy is in a stable condition and we should be able to speak with him today, which will further assist our enquiries."

Point Danger VMR and volunteers from the Surf Life Saving Tweed Support Group continued the search for the missing man yesterday, after police divers from Sydney and NSW Water Police from Coffs Harbour took part in the search over the weekend.

Insp Taylor said the police divers and water police have left the area, but can be called on if needed.



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