Hope fades for man lost at sea

CHANCES of finding a man alive after he fell overboard from a 15-foot boat off the coast near South End last night are "very remote".

Limestone Coast Superintendent Trevor Twilley said at a media conference today that police divers from Adelaide had arrived to continue the search for the 28-year-old Millicent man.

The divers will use underwater sonar equipment to search for the man after two helicopters and SES volunteers have been unable to find him on land and in the ocean during an extensive search last night and today.

"There is always hope that he is alive," Supt Twilley said.

"But the reality is that given the conditions, the temperature of the water, the length of time and the extensive search that was done, chances are very remote."

A 52-year-old woman and the man's seven-year-old daughter, who were also on board, raised the alarm at 9pm last night after they arrived safely on shore.

They had no safety equipment on the boat and were not wearing life jackets.

It is believed the man fell overboard when he tried to retrieve an oar from the water, which he used after the boat's engine failed.

"You've got to feel sorry for the girl," Sup Twilley said.

"What she saw, she will have to live with for the rest of her life."

The woman and the girl drifted back to shore and, when they approached in knee-deep water, the woman jumped out and dragged the boat onto the beach.

Supt Twilley said three other people, including a four-year-old child, were also planning on travelling on the boat, but decided against it.

They waited on the beach for the boat to return.

"It is uncertain why they went out on the boat at that time of the night," Supt Twilley said.

"The woman is, at this stage, too traumatised to give a statement and we are in the process of getting statements from the others (that waited on shore)."

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