- A man dies aboard a catamaran
- The boat caught fire and exploded
A man has been killed after his sailing catamaran exploded in flames, with investigators ruling it was an accident.
Raffaele Pagliarini, 66, from Ravenshoe, about 114km south of Cairns in Far North Queensland, was killed by the explosion on Saturday.
Bystanders on the banks of the Johnstone River watched helplessly as the boat burst into flames before sinking.
Police confirmed a body was found at the scene and believe it belongs to the 66-year-old man. However, investigators will have to carry out DNA tests after the corpse was mutilated by the explosion.
Mr Pagliarini was last seen on his boat on the Johnstone River on Friday, with police ruling the explosion an accident.
Raffaele Pagliarini, 66, died on Saturday after an explosion caused a fire aboard his catamaran.
Townsville yacht owner Chris Hooper, who was anchored next to Mr Pagliarini in August, gave insight into the possible cause of the fire.
He said that during the visit to Mr Pagliarini’s ship, named Yawo, a wood-fired oven installed on the boat caught fire.
“We saw Raf’s pizza fire get out of control on Magnetic Island, he burned his hands putting it out,” he said. Cairns Post .
“Friends told me he now owns a still to make alcohol, which is weird because Raf didn’t drink much.”
An Innisfail man, who was first to the scene, described wading through a crocodile-infested habitat, desperately calling out to anyone on board.
The man, who requested anonymity, said he came within meters of Mr Pagliarini’s yacht but it was completely engulfed in flames and smoke.
“Actually, I was the first on the scene and the first in waist-deep water, 4 meters deep from the ship, while it was burning, screaming if anyone was on the ship and passing information to the police. I kind of wish I had done more now,” he said.
“He could have been in the mangroves next to me, or behind me somewhere.
It is understood the boat caught fire on the Johnstone River in Far North Queensland.
A friend of Mr Pagliarini said a wood-fired oven installed on the boat caught fire when he visited the sailor in August.
Izzy Nazare, a friend of Mr Pagliarini, said she met the sailor on North Keppel Island two years ago and developed a close bond over a shared interest in off-grid living and durable.
“He was not alone but didn’t like being with people and was always separated from the group, he liked his solitude,” she said.
“He lived that way,” he told me, “because when he was young he was extremely poor and now that’s what he was trying to look for, to get a sense of his style of living. life,” she said.
Ms Nazare said she did not believe wood-fired pizza was the cause of the boat fire.
“I know he has a wood fired pizza oven on board and he knew exactly what he was doing, it was impossible and if there was a fire he would put it out for sure, he was extremely careful, it’s just really strange,” she said.
“But it wouldn’t surprise me if he fought.”
The police investigation into the circumstances of the incident continues.