Search continues for missing Laura publican Kevin Darmody feared taken by crocodile – ABC News

Search continues for missing Laura publican Kevin Darmody feared taken by crocodile - ABC News

Far north Queensland locals have described a well-known publican feared taken by a crocodile as a friendly bloke who loved his fishing and a “good yarn”.

Kevin Darmody was fishing with friends by the Kennedy River in Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park, about 255 kilometres north-west of Cairns, when he disappeared about 3:30pm on Saturday.

Detective acting inspector Jason Chetham confirmed a crocodile attack was a possibility.

“We have one account that there was a noise, a loud yell, and … the sound of the water splashing,” he said.

Police, the State Emergency Service and wildlife officers are involved in the ongoing search for Mr Darmody.

Detective Inspector Jason Chetham.()

‘He’s gone, he’s gone’

Electrician and fisherman Bart Harrison was not with the group, but said a friend told him of the frantic efforts to locate Mr Darmody.

“One of the blokes that was with him just come running out waving his arms … saying, ‘He’s gone, he’s gone’,” Mr Harrison said.

“Nobody actually saw it happen — everyone was just fishing, doing their own thing, spread out along the bank.”

Cooktown electrician and fisherman Bart Harrison.()

Mr Darmody, known affectionately as “Stumpy” for his short stature, was the proprietor of the Peninsula Hotel in Laura, 50km south of the Kennedy River.

“He was a lovely bloke. A real friendly, chatty bloke,” Mr Harrison said.

“In the dry season, he was always having a good yarn, ripping everyone’s ear off at the pub.

“I’ve talked to him thousands of times over the years.”

Kennedy Bend is inside Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park. Mr Darmody ran the Peninsula Hotel in Laura, 208km northwest of Cairns.()

‘Tough little nut’

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott, also a local publican, said Mr Darmody “loved his fishing”.

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott.()

“He was a bit of a character and a tough little nut,” he said.

Cr Scott said the region was largely wilderness where nature ruled.

“People have just got to take into account that the rules of civilisation [in] cities don’t apply up here,” he said.

“You’ve just got to be very careful and heed the warning signs everywhere about crocodiles.”

Kennedy Bend in Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park, in Far North Queensland.()

Mr Harrison said Mr Darmody’s thongs were left on the bank.

“We’ve done a lot of fishing there over the years, but I just I don’t fish there anymore,” Mr Harrison said.

“It’s too dangerous — the bank’s really steep.

“If you flick a light there at night-time driving past you’ll see a couple of crocs for sure.”

Kennedy Bend, the site of the search for Kevin Darmody, feared taken by a crocodile, in Far North Queensland.()

Help available for councils

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the state was willing work with councils on improving crocodile management and increasing education campaigns.

“We know up north it’s croc country,” she said.

“If there’s anything more that we can do in terms of crocodile management plans which are worked out with the councils, we will do that.

“I know [Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon] has put forward a proposal about extra funding for education awareness and more liaison with councils so we will definitely do that.”


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