The bulk carrier Blue Wave remains in the ocean off Evans Head while the search for the crewman continues.
The bulk carrier Blue Wave remains in the ocean off Evans Head while the search for the crewman continues. Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter

Crewman missing off Evans Head

RESCUE services are racing against the clock to find a missing Ukrainian crewman who fell overboard from the Cyprus bulk carrier, Blue Wave, somewhere between Byron Bay and Evans Head.

At 7pm on Saturday, the 36-year-old man fell from the ship which was situated 30 nautical miles off the coast.

Yesterday morning the Australian Maritime and Safety Authority initiated a search with a dedicated rescue Dornier aeroplane, a police vessel from Coffs Harbour and four helicopters, including the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter.

The missing man was not found and the search was suspended until this morning.

Australian Maritime and Safety Authority communication manager Jonathan Wills said search conditions were favourable.

"The conditions are actually fine - there's no white caps, which is good because white caps confuse the search," he said.

"The water temperature is 21 degrees, which is okay, but it's not particularly good if you're overboard.

"It's significantly below body temperature and any significant amount of time at that temperature can be dangerous.

"Conditions are good for a search but conditions are never good for survival, so we obviously have grave concerns."

Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter air crewman Jimmy Keough took part in the search yesterday and said the man was believed to be wearing minimal clothing and no flotation device.

Mr Wills had said the search would resume at first-light this morning.

"Given the time he fell overboard, we've given him a survivability of lunch-time (today)," he said.

Blue Wave was destined for Newcastle but has remained in the area to assist with the search.



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