Search for missing man Thomas Courto and boat ends off Tasmania’s northwest coast

The search for missing Tasmanian man Thomas Courto and the boat he was traveling in with two other friends off the state’s northwest coast has been called off.

Mr Courto and two of his friends – Bree-Anna Thomas and Isaiah Dixon – did not return from a day trip on the water on October 18.

The bodies of Ms Thomas and Mr Dixon were found washed up near Table Cape two days later.

Tasmanian police said an “anomaly area” identified on the seabed near the coast during a sonar investigation was not linked to Mr Courto or the boat he and his friends were in. found.

Tasmanian Police Inspector Steve Jones said the 11-day search was canceled after a “full independent review”.

“Given the poor weather conditions and cool temperatures, expert advice has determined that it is extremely unlikely that Thomas Courto could have survived,” Inspector Jones said.

“Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the three people – Isaiah Dixon, Thomas Courto and Bree-Anna Thomas – who were tragically lost at sea.”

Floral tributes were placed in a Wynyard park as locals showed their support for the families of Isaiah Dixon, Thomas Courto and Bree-Anna Thomas.(Provided: Annie Matthews)

The three friends were from the northwest town of Wynyard, where they launched their boat on October 18.

Police had also hoped to find the five-meter yellow-and-white half-cabin motorboat, but said there was also no sign of it.

They had hoped the ship would have provided answers as to what might have happened.

The search, which began for the three friends and continued for Mr Courto, was one of the largest sea searches to have taken place on the northwest coast.

It was also the first time that the Tasmanian Police had used the type of sonar technology used to search the seabed, with the ability to search around 500 hectares per day.

Police boat seen from afar off.
Police divers used sonar technology to search for Thomas Courto.(ABC News: Monte Bovill)

Speaking after the discovery of the bodies of Mr Dixon and Ms Thomas, Mr Dixon’s uncle John-Paul Dixon said that Isaiah Dixon and Mr Courto had “grown up together since they were from little boys and that Bree fitted in very well with them “.

“They were both very special boys and Bree was a lovely lady.”

Inspector Jones thanked everyone involved in the search, including the maritime police specializing in search and rescue.

“I would also like to thank the volunteers from the State Emergency Service and Surf Life Saving Tasmania and the wider Northwest community for their great help and support while undertaking this in-depth research,” said he declared.

A report is being prepared for the coroner.

A composite image of three people who appear to be in their twenties.
Thomas Courto, Bree-Anna Thomas, and Isaiah Dixon were good friends.(Provided: Facebook)


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