10 May 2023

Cafe owner speaks after Archer River causeway incident

| Matt Nicholls
Start the conversation

Patrick Akenson and his wife Lou in Mapoon late last year. Picture: Matt Nicholls

THE owner of Mapoon’s Wild Cape Cafe has taken responsibility for his actions after his truck got stuck on the Archer River causeway on Thursday morning.

Patrick Akenson was airlifted from his truck around 3pm that day after police ordered a rescue chopper from Horn Island.

The road was officially closed, meaning Mr Akenson – who also manages the Mapoon Store – was breaking the law by driving back from Cairns.

“Yes, I was in the wrong for attempting to cross the Archer River,” he saidon Sunday.

“I only had good intentions … to supply Mapoon with affordable supplies, as everyone who lives in the Cape knows the cost of freight.

“In saying that, yes, I was still in the wrong.”

Mr Akenson said he misread the conditions underneath the notorious Archer crossing.

“The river level was not the issue, it was the very soft sand bar that stopped me, which I underestimated,” he told Cape York Weekly.

“I would like to thank the air rescue and police for their help, but at no time did I ask for it or require it, as you could walk from the truck to the shore.

“But naturally, once the police were involved, they are required to follow procedures and protocols. I have accepted the fines applied to me.”

There were initial fears that the Wild Cape Cafe truck would be stuck on the causeway for weeks, or get washed away when river levels rose.

However, some Cape York locals were able to drag it away late on Thursday afternoon using a dump truck.

“With the help of my friends in the area, we pulled the truck out and checked all the mechanical elements to ensure that the truck was safe to travel,” Mr Akenson said.

“On Saturday, with permission from the Coen police, I drove the truck back to Cairns, with no issues arising.

“The truck will now stay in Cairns until the wet season is over.

“This will cause supply issues for Mapoon, as we will only be able to get supplies from Woolworths (in Weipa).

“Woolworths have been great in their support but that still limits what we can get.

“The only other option would be to raise the prices by 50 per cent to cover the freight.

“I would also like to thank all the people who wrote supporting comments.”

On Friday, police said they had issued two traffic infringement notices amounting to $747 for disobeying a road access sign and careless driving.

Start the conversation

Cape York Weekly

Subscribe to get the latest edition of Cape York Weekly in your inbox each Monday.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Cape York Weekly's terms and conditions and privacy policy.