Roman Butchaski: Former Australian radio host missing in croc-infested waters

A north Queensland river from above
Image caption,Crocodiles are plentiful in Australia’s tropical north, but attacks are relatively uncommon

By Tiffanie Turnbull

BBC News, Sydney

A search is under way in northern Australia after a former radio host went missing while on a solo fishing trip in crocodile-infested waters.

The alarm was raised when Roman Butchaski failed to return to his camping ground on Sunday.

Some of his belongings have since been found near a river on Queensland’s remote Cape York Peninsula.

Mr Butchaski, known as Butch, is an avid angler and a former host of Sydney radio station 2GB’s fishing show.

His former co-host Gavin Pitchford told 2GB that his friend – though a Sydney local – regularly visited the spot on the Olive River, about 600km (370 miles) north of Cairns.

“I’m devastated. Butchy walks the banks up there regularly. He’s been fishing there forever,” a statement read out on air said.

Mr Pitchford also said he feared Mr Butchaski, who is in his 60s and has diabetes, may have suffered a medical episode.

On Tuesday, police announced more officers would travel to the area to assist the search.

Rescue helicopters and crews on the ground have been combing the region since they were alerted on Sunday night.

Police say the car Mr Butchaski had was found at the river. Local media report some fishing gear was discovered as well.

Queensland Police Senior Sgt Duane Amos told reporters the region is a well-known crocodile habitat, but added that Mr Butchaski is familiar with the area.

“He was well-prepared for a normal expedition that he has undertaken before,” the policeman said on Monday.

Crocodiles are plentiful in Australia’s tropical north, and while crocodile attacks in the country are uncommon, there have been several this year.

In February, rangers shot a 4.2m crocodile that attacked a man and ate his dog at a remote boat ramp north of Cairns.

And in May, the remains of 65-year-old fisherman Kevin Darmody were found inside a 4.1m crocodile on the nearby Kennedy River – the 13th fatal attack in Queensland since record-keeping began in 1985.


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