Search for rock fisherman missing off Coffs Harbour for five days

© Provided by ABC NEWS Police say the delay in learning Mr Nakabasa was missing means they are now searching a large area. (ABC News)

Police are conducting a land and water search for a Coffs Harbour man who left for a fishing trip on NSW’s Mid North Coast five days ago.

NSW Police said Depy Nakabasa Chihiri, 42, was last seen or heard from on Tuesday, September 21, when he left his Sandy Beach home to go fishing.

Friends who live with Mr Nakabasa notified police he was missing on Friday.

Officers have found his vehicle in the Mullaway Beach carpark, and located his thongs and pants on the beach.

Marine Rescue, Surf Life Saving NSW and the Westpac helicopter have been assisting with the search, which was scaled back on Saturday afternoon.

District Chief Inspector Brendan Gorman said police were waiting for low tide to access the rock shelves at Mullaway Beach.

“We will then decide on the continuation of the search operation and where we go from there,” he said.

“The five days have created a large search area, roughly a 500 square kilometre search zone. 

 “It has made it harder because we are four days behind when he was last seen, so we have got to go on the best estimates and the location of his vehicle.

“Based on available information, his experience in regards to the surf and fishing is very low.”

‘Sad and tragic’

Mr Nakabasa migrated to Coffs Harbour from Uganda eight years ago.

Friend John Paul Dairagigi said Mr Nakabasa was in the process of moving his fiance and two children from Uganda to Australia.

“It is very sad and tragic,” he said. 

“We can see his car here but we don’t know whether he is alive or dead.

“We can’t pray because we don’t know what is going on or where he is.”


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