Roman Butchaski, a well-known angler estimated to be in his 60s or 70s, went missing on Monday during a solo fishing expedition near a river in Australia’s Cape York Peninsula.
This region, celebrated among anglers, is renowned for its remote wetlands and presence of dangerous wildlife. The primary hazards include saltwater crocodiles, marine stingers and venomous snakes.
Butchaski’s failure to return to his campsite prompted a search operation. Some of his belongings were discovered near the Olive River, situated about 600 kilometres north of Cairns and 150 kilometres from Bamaga on the tip of Cape York.
Butchaski, a former co-host of a fishing show on Sydney’s 2GB, had set out from Bramwell Station around 8am on Sunday, intending to walk along the riverbank while casting lures.
According to co-host Gavin Pitchford, Butchaski is an experienced fisherman, but also a diabetic and may have suffered an episode.
Friends raised the alarm when he hadn’t returned by sunset. Despite searches on the ground and in the air, hindered by dense vegetation, the cause of his disappearance remains unknown.
Considering the region’s wildlife, including the presence of crocodiles, concerns about a potential crocodile attack have been raised (although such incidents are rare.)
In February, rangers shot a 4.2-meter crocodile that attacked a man and ate his dog at a remote boat ramp north of Cairns.
Then in May, wildlife officials searching for a missing 65-year-old fisherman shot two crocodiles and found his remains inside one. That incident took place on the Kennedy River and marked Queensland’s 13th recorded fatal attack since 1985.
The search for Butchaski is ongoing.