Queensland man disappears from Sunshine Coast beach, police divers face treacherous conditions

A 20-year-old man from Brisbane has disappeared in the waters off Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, with divers’ efforts hampered by what they described as “washing machine” conditions.

Travis Davis and another person were swimming at Shelley Beach in the late afternoon on Saturday when passersby on the beach saw them start fighting.

Three people went into the water to help the couple, but only one of the swimmers was pulled to safety.

The other man, also in his 20s, is still in the hospital.

Police diving unit officer in charge Sergeant Andy Bower said the circumstances were misleading.

“It looked okay on the surface, but divers report that beneath it was something of a washing machine pushing back and forth, making the search a little more difficult.”

A middle-aged man in a black T-shirt looks down at his phone next to the back of trucks in the evening.
Sergeant Andy Bower said the conditions were “like a washing machine” below the surface.(ABC News: Jacqui Street)

The diving team was called in when it returned from flood-ravaged parts of southern Queensland.

The search was interrupted at 21.00 on Saturday when a heavy thunderstorm hit the area.

Davis’ family saw the search unfold from the shoreline.

Caloundra man Tony Dwyer said he saw police boats, jet skis and helicopters looking for the man.

He said the incident happened at what he described as a notorious part of the beach.

“Most people know they should not swim here because it is not patrolled and there are always rifts here,” he said.

He said he felt for the young man’s family, especially considering how close it was to Christmas.

A middle-aged bald man wearing a golf shirt that says 'coast guard', sitting in the office and looking at monitorsA middle-aged bald man wearing a golf shirt that says 'coast guard', sitting in the office and looking at monitors
Caloundra’s Coast Guard assisted with the search in dangerous conditions. (ABC News: Jacqui Street)

“It’s a terrible thing to happen at any time of the year, but especially now,” he said.

“Everyone has come out of COVID and is trying to get back together as families, and something like that is happening.”

Police intend to resume the search early Sunday.