An overnight search for a yachtsman missing in Bass Strait has been called off after his boat was discovered unmanned. Authorities said it is highly unlikely he survived.
The experienced yachtsman left Eden in NSW on an 18-metre yacht on Boxing Day and had intended to arrive at Deal Island on Monday. Police received a report at 2.10pm on Thursday of the overdue vessel which had not arrived at Deal Island in the Kent Group of islands, north-west of Flinders Island.
A search was conducted involving the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Australian Maritime Safety Authority, and the yacht was found about 11pm on Thursday. Victoria Police towed it to Deal Island.
A spokesperson for AMSA said the matter has been handed to police and is no longer considered a search and rescue.
"The sailor was not on board. It is now a coronial matter," she said. "There is now discussion between Tasmania Police and Victoria Police to determine who has jurisdiction. AMSA is no longer involved because the search was called off due to survive-ability."