22 November 2023

Police call off Cape York search for missing radio host

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Search party standing on dirt road.

The search for a fisherman who went missing in the Olive River has been suspended after a week with no new information. Photo: Queensland Police Service.

AFTER a week passed with no signs of the missing fisherman in Shelburne, the search for radio host Roman “Butch” Butchaski was suspended on Sunday (November 19).

The man was reported missing on Sunday, November 12, after failing to return at last light from a day of fishing at the Olive River.

Police said the search had to be suspended due to a lack of information.

“In the absence of any other information in relation to where the person may be, we stand ground assets down,” Senior Sergeant Ed Lukin said.

“The search was very comprehensive around the Olive River and surrounding bushland, and we have found no sight or sign of the missing person.”

He explained that while the on-the-ground search and rescue operation was suspended, the investigation was not over.

“Certainly in the background, we have other inquiries being conducted,” he said.

Police will also be returning to the site at an undecided date next week “to see if anything further has come to light”.

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 vehicle Mr Butchaski travelled to the Olive River in was found on Monday, November 13, along with a fishing rod, esky, lunch and a few bottles of water.

No further personal items were found.

“We do know the missing person would regularly take two rods, so we understand he did take one as best we know, but that has not been found either,” Senior Sergeant Luki said.

Police have ruled out a possible crocodile attack with the support of Department of Environment and Science wildlife officers, despite the area being a well-known croc habitat.

Senior Sergeant Lukin had worked with the Department several times on crocodile attacks, and was confident in their ruling out of the incident.

“They’re extremely good at what they do. They are confident that a croc is not involved in this and I’m happy with the assumption made by them,” he said.

There was a three-metre crocodile seen near Mr Butchaski’s vehicle during the search, but there was no indication of its involvement in an attack and will not be investigated.

Bramwell Station, the cattle station at which Mr Butchaski was staying, hosted travelling volunteers throughout the search.

Police thanked Bramwell Station staff for their support and hospitality.

“We’ve been a big impost upon them, feeding and housing all our volunteers,” he said.

Police commended all volunteers who travelled to the remote waterfront, as well as locals who searched tirelessly.

“We had a lot of locals turn up on the last weekend of the search and their assistance was invaluable. Their local knowledge was fantastic,” he said.

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