Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of John Patrick MAHER

Inquest into the Death of John Patrick MAHER

Delivered on :5 September 2019

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : Coroner Vicker

Recommendations :N/A

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : N/A

Summary : The deceased at the time of his death was 24 years of age when he was seen to fall overboard from the vessel, Tawarri III, in the early hours of 24 April 1980.

The deceased was working on a prawn trawler, the Tawarri III, which had been prawning all night in seas which were described as very rough with a nor west swell. The vessel was travelling in a northerly direction having just pulled the nets and cast away again. Four crew members were sorting the prawns into plastic buckets and throwing the fish and other unuseful material down the rubbish shute into the water. The deceased has leant across the table to drag some prawns over the table when the boat rocked towards them, and the prawns the deceased was pulling over with his bat started sliding down the shute. The deceased has tried to stop the catch from going down the shute but slipped off the sorting stand. The deceased has then tried to regain his balance by stepping backwards. The back of the deceased’s knees has hit the gunnel and the deceased went overboard backwards.

The deceased has entered the water but then he was seen to surface. He appeared to be alright and treading water and a rope was thrown to him. The nets had to be pulled onto the Tawarri III before it was able to turn around to rescue the deceased. The deceased could be heard calling out his location. The deceased could be seen in the water approximately two boom lengths on the port side of the vessel and he appeared to be floating in the water. A life bouy was thrown into the water and the deceased was advised to swim towards the life buoy. The deceased was seen by crew members to start to swim towards the life buoy. The deceased looked as though he was tired as he swam towards the life buoy and then he disappeared under the water. The crew did not see the deceased surface and he was not seen again.

The Coroner found the deceased died on 24 April 1980 at sea approximately 22 miles south-south west off the coast of Carnarvon as a result of immersion.

Catch Words : Missing Person : Accident

Last updated: 1-Oct-2019

[ back to top ]