The ill-fated boat voyage from Sydney Harbor that led to the death of a high-profile art expert and the alleged death of a tech guru has raised several questions that remain unanswered.
There is no explanation available as to why Andrew Findlay, 51, and Native American art dealer Tim Klingender, 59, went out fishing in dangerous seas at 7:30 a.m. last Thursday as a southerly swell was breaking the shores of the eastern suburbs.
The 7.85 meter Brig Eagle inflatable fishing boat they set out in was hit by 5 meter waves and crashed onto rocks at The Gap in Watsons Bay at around 10am
The naked body of Mr. Klingender, clad only in socks, was found in rubble strewn among the rocks below Jacobs Ladder on South Head.
Perilous conditions persisting over the weekend prevented police from recovering evidence from the ship and tragically the search for Mr Findlay narrowed.
Questions linger as to why craft supremo Tim Klingender (above, with wife Skye McCardle) and his friend set out into rough seas without life jackets and crashed onto rocks, leaving the indigenous expert’s naked body to be found and Andrew Findlay still missing.
Tech entrepreneur Andrew Findlay, 51, is still missing after the fateful trip on a hard day of surfing in a fishing boat that ended up capsizing on the rocks of Watsons Bay.
Mr Klingender is the father of two children with his wife Skye McCardle Klingender, while Mr Findlay has three children with his former partner Lizzie Kemp, who was once married to cricket legend Brett Lee.
Findlay socialized in celebrity circles in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and is close friends with model and Home and Away star Erika Heynatz and her husband Andrew Kingston, artist Daimon Downey and husband-and-wife musicians Angus McDonald and Connie Mitchel.
The friends are said to be “shocked to the core” by the disappearance and presumed death of Mr Findlay.
Comedian Magda Szubanksi led the tributes to Mr Klingender, who is credited with helping propel the likes of Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Rover Thomas to international star status, saying she “very much admired his amazing work promoting indigenous art”.
Klingender’s wife, Skye McCardle, is believed to have been away in Nepal and was due to return home at the time the tragedy occurred.
Here are the main questions that need to be answered ahead of an eventual NSW coroner’s inquest into the fatal crash:
Tim Klingender (above with Wik artists from Aurukun last December in Sydney) is credited with helping propel indigenous artists like Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Rover Thomas to international star status.
Why did they go out?
Police would later describe the waters off Bondi and Watsons Bay on Thursday morning as “rough sea conditions”. The water temperature in July was too cold for anyone who fell overboard to survive more than a day.
So why did the couple take such a risk to come out with such high stops when cautions and cautions were issued to surfers and boaters alike?
Police search the waters of Watsons Bay late last week after the offshore boating accident on Thursday ended with the probable deaths of Tim Klingender and Andrew Findlay.
How did the accident happen?
The 7.8-metre men’s inflatable boat, which weighs more than a ton, was said to have been traveling too close to the cliff at Watsons Bay.
Their journey began around 7:30am, heading south from Bondi towards Watsons Bay, when they began to encounter large waves battering the cliffs.
It is understood that the men were too close to the cliffs for the conditions in which they were trolling; a method of fishing that consists of dragging lines behind the boat.
Superintendent Joe McNulty of the Marine Area Command said waves up to 5 meters high pushed the boat against the rocks.
Tech entrepreneur Andrew Findlay, above Sydney Harbor in a life jacket, was inexplicably not wearing one when he went out fishing with partner art dealer Time Klingender last Thursday.
‘It seems that they have… been swept away by a large wave that possibly capsized the boat and [has] threw both men into the ocean,’ Superintendent. McNulty said.
‘There were violent sea conditions and a violent accident occurred.
Rescuers believe the boat hit a rocky ledge hidden underwater when it was hit by huge waves.
As a consequence, the boat remained firmly lodged against the rocks below the cliffs at South Head.
Why didn’t they wear life jackets?
Neither of them was wearing a life jacket, and it is not known why, since their fishing poles were thrown from behind as the boat continued to move forward.
Because both men appear to have been thrown into the ocean by the shipwreck, and life jackets might have helped them stay afloat in the treacherous conditions after their boat capsized.
What stripped Mr. Klingender of his clothes and carried off Mr. Findlay’s body?
Dangerous ocean rips closed the beaches of the Eastern Suburbs last Thursday, meaning once both men were in the water, they were left at the mercy of the conditions.
Both or either of the men could have been injured in the capsize of the ship, leaving them tossed about in violent seas.
His boat was found capsized and wrecked at the base of The Gap in Watsons Bay.
The men’s 7.8m dinghy was found wedged in the rocks below The Gap in Watsons Bay, and Tim Klingender’s body was found in the rubble, but there was no sign of Andrew Findlay.
Why did they cancel the search?
The Navy command concluded the search on Saturday, a day after the “survival deadline, taking into account the water temperatures in July.”
Once tossed into the rough seas, both men were reportedly dumped in conditions that saw surfers warn that it was “definitely not a day for anyone but fit and experienced riders.” Solid southerly swell breaking through the magnets this morning.
Caves and cliffs around the area were searched with a PolAir helicopter hovering over the coast trying to locate more of the boat and Mr Findlay.
Superintendent McNulty said the operation covered more than 20 km on Saturday, from South Head to Cape Solander, near Botany Bay.
Marine commando police will continue to search for the body of tech entrepreneur Andrew Findlay, but called off the full-scale search after three days because he was presumed dead by then.
Will Andrew Findlay ever be found?
The discovery of Tim Klingender’s remains rocked the Australian art world and, as art dealer Michael Reid put it, caused “unimaginable and devastating loss to his family.”
But as terrible as his irreplaceable loss is, the torment for Andrew Findlay’s loved ones will be even more acute, with many in such situations saying they would rather know conclusively how he ended than be left in doubt.
Superintendent McNulty said at the weekend after a three-day full-scale air and water search: “We will continue to search, but look at a much lower scale for that second body because we now assume that it is deceased.”