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01/19/2007 Thomas Houghton (Australia) ***Fatal***

Posted: Sun Jan 28, 2007 8:36 pm
by sharkbait
Shark theory over body missing at sea



RESCUE teams fear the body of a Brunswick Heads man who disappeared at sea on Friday was taken by sharks.

The search for Thomas Houghton, 20, was called off on Sunday afternoon after the discovery of human organs in the Brunswick River by lifeguards at 11am.

Two hours earlier, a rescue helicopter team from the Gold Coast reported seeing a pack of five sharks in a feeding frenzy 500 metres out to sea off the Brunswick River mouth.

Far North Coast lifeguard supervisor Peter Baird said because the shark sighting occurred shortly before the remains surfaced in the river, there was a likely connection.

"If you put two and two together you have to make an assumption," he said.

"We are fairly confident they are human remains."

Police have refused to comment on whether or not they belonged to Thomas Houghton until tests have been completed at a forensic lab in Newcastle.

Mr Houghton was swimming with three friends 400m outside the flagged area at Brunswick Heads Beach when he was caught in a rip at around 1pm last Friday. Two friends swim- ming with him tried to pull him out of it, but lost their grip.

On that day, the conditions on the beach were treacherous, with a 1.5m swell and a number of rips on the beach and the nearby river rushing out to sea.

A massive search effort was abandoned on Monday due to a combination of the organ discovery and lack of resources, however, the family continued to search the river with a private boat.

Meanwhile, Mr Baird has warned swimmers that beach conditions are set to worsen.

"Over the next few days choppy swell is slowly getting bigger and we advise people to be very cautious and take the directions of the lifeguards," he said. ... ID=3718836

Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2007 11:19 pm
by sharkbait
Lifeguards angry at swimmers’ stupidity


DESPITE three drownings in NSW over the past few days, Northern Rivers beach-goers continue to swim in rough seas outside the supervised flagged areas.

Yesterday the search was called off for missing Brunswick Heads 20-year-old Thomas Houghton, who disappeared in a rip off the Brunswick Heads main beach on Friday while swimming with friends.

At the same time, dozens of people at Main Beach in Byron Bay paid no heed to instructions from lifeguards to stay where the conditions were safe.

Lifeguard Jimmy Keough co-ordinated the three-day long $100,000 search for Mr Houghton, who was presumed drowned after lifeguards discovered human organs floating in the Brunswick River on Sunday.

Mr Keough said he was flabbergasted people continued to put their lives in danger knowing how deadly the ocean was.
"We put up signs and witches hats. We could probably even put up neon signs and they would walk right past that too," Mr Keough said.

"In the last fortnight, even with the big swells, there have been more people swimming outside the flags than in previous years."

One of those swimmers, Rodney Fauser, of Newrybar, said he regularly swam outside the flags because he was confident in his ability.

"I actually got caught in a rip a while back off Seven Mile Beach," he said.

"So now if I feel any rip at all, I keep my feet planted firmly on the ground. If I feel the conditions are OK it really doesn’t bother me where I swim."

Mr Keough said 90 per cent of rescues were conducted outside the red-and-yellow flagged area.

"I have even seen parents put their kids there," he said.

"It is naive and it is stupid."

Meanwhile, the family of Thomas Houghton continued a private search of the Brunswick River and beach yesterday.

Family friend, Richard Hughes, said they were not ready to give up hope yet.

"We are still looking," Mr Hughes said.

"We have to take one step at a time, to go through the grieving process. We are here to help the family when they stumble."

Far North Coast lifeguard supervisor Peter Baird said it was a painful decision to call off the search, but they did not have the resources to continue.

"The family are keen to retrieve his body, but in reality it may never happen," Mr Baird said.

Meanwhile, two men are feared drowned after jumping off a public wharf into Botany Bay in Sydney’s south on Sunday. A search for the men, aged 20 and 21, will resume this morning. ... ubsection=