15 November 2023

Missing fisher's identity confirmed

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Roman "Butch" Butchaski.

Popular Sydney radio host and avid fisherman Roman “Butch” Butchaski has gone missing in Cape York waters. Photo: Ben Fordham (Facebook).

The fisherman who went missing on Sunday night (November 12) at the Olive River has been confirmed as a long-time co-host of a popular fishing show on Sydney Radio.

Roman “Butch” Butchaski was last seen at approximately 8 am on Sunday when heading off for a solo fishing trip at the remote waterway in the Cape York Peninsula.

For several years, Mr Butchaski co-hosted the popular weekend radio program, The Fishing Show, alongside Michael Guest and Gavin Pitchford. The program is no longer running.

Police said at a Cairns press conference on Monday (November 13) that Mr Butchaski had travelled from to Cape York several times prior, and that it was not his first time at the Olive River.

“He’s a keen fisherman, so the expectation is anyone who fishes those areas would take all reasonable precautions in and around those waterways,” Senior Sergeant Duane Amos said.

It is understood that Mr Butchaski borrowed a side-by-side buggy from a friend to travel to the Olive River from Bramwell Station in Shelburne, more than an hour’s drive east.

Police described the river’s location as “an awkward area to get in and out of” and said there were challenges with the remoteness of the location.

Search and rescue vehicles parked at the Olive River.

The remote location brings about challenges to the search and rescue operation. Photo: Queensland Police Service.

“Obviously the challenge is getting resources into those particular areas. There’s ferry river crossing, so you can only get assets over at certain times of the day,” Senior Sergeant Amos said.

Search and rescue located the vehicle, along with personal items such as a fishing rod, at around 6:45 pm Monday night near the banks of the river.

“It’s a very big window for issues or concerns, whether it’s misorientation or misadventure.”

When asked about the length for which a person could survive in the area, Senior Sergeant Amos said:

“It depends on a person’s background and upbringing, whether they’ve got particular skills in that area, but from all understanding he’s actually taken the appropriate resources for the time that he was going to be expected to be out remotely.”

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