THE police ethical standards command is investigating the death of a man at Shute Harbour on Sunday morning. Initial reports suggest the 51-year-old, who was wanted for questioning by Whitsunday police, appears to have drowned at about 10am, despite officers' best rescue attempts.
The man, who had only been in the area for a few weeks, was living on a yacht. Acting Inspector Gary Green said police officers went to Shute Harbour at about 9.30am to question him in relation to an assault complaint. The assault allegedly occurred at about 4.30am on a private boat.
Acting Inspector Green said police saw the man in a rowing boat and attempted to call him to the shore when he jumped in the water and was seen holding onto the side of the boat.
"Police then saw him go under," he said.
Two officers immediately swam out, however the man was unconscious by the time they reached him. He was then pulled to the mangrove-clad shoreline near the Shute Harbour Motel, where police commenced CPR until paramedics arrived. Sadly he could not be resuscitated and died at the scene.
A Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) crew was called to help with the retrieval of the body. Firefighters attached a guide rope to their vehicle, which was used to access the site and assist with the physical difficulties of recovering the body from testing terrain.
The Queensland Police Service Ethical Standards Command have taken charge of the investigation which will be overviewed by the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC). A report will be prepared for the coroner.