A boat that sparked South Australia’s largest search operation has run aground in Victor Harbor.
- Tony Higgins and Derek Robinson were found off the south coast on September 10
- Mr Higgins has been living on the boat doing repairs
- It ran aground yesterday after he tried to bring it ashore
The Margrel hit a sandbank when owner Tony Higgins attempted to come ashore in the south coast town for supplies yesterday.
Authorities conducted a four-day search for Mr Higgins and friend Derek Robinson that stretched between South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island after a friend reported them missing.
They were eventually found off the Coorong, south-east of Victor Harbor on September 10.
Mr Higgins has remained on the boat off Granite Island since to carry out repairs on the 10-metre wooden-hulled boat he bought in Coffin Bay.
He had planned to sail it to Goolwa but damage to a propeller slowed down the journey’s progress, sparking the search.
He had been using a bicycle tied up on the Granite Island causeway to get supplies, unable to walk because of his “bung foot”, but the bike was stolen.
He tried to bring the Margrel into the Victor Harbor foreshore yesterday but it became stuck in shallow water.
“[I’ll] just wait for the tide and come and get my stuff and then go,” Mr Robinson said as people watched his predicament.
“I got no dinghy, mate, until I go and buy one.”
He had a message for the thief who stole his bicylce.
“Thanks very much to you, scumbag, whoever it is,” he said.
“I hope you crash and break your arm.”
The tide came in and Mr Higgins’s boat is now tied up at the Granite Island wharf.
The search earlier this month covered more than 120,000 square kilometres. It involved the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Royal Australian Air Force and Kangaroo Island and Volunteer Marine Rescue, as well as police.
Police found the men after they responded to a text message once they got back into range off Encounter Bay.
Mr Higgins was fined $1,000 fine after being rescued for having an out-of-date emergency position indication radio beacon (EPIRB) and also for having only expired flares on board.
SA Police also discovered Mr Higgins did not hold an appropriate recreational boat licence.