The ill-fated boat trip off Sydney Harbor that resulted in the death of a high-profile art expert and presumably the death of a tech guru has raised several unanswered questions.
There is no explanation as to why Andrew Findlay, 51, and Indigenous art dealer Tim Klingender, 59, set out fishing at 7.30am last Thursday in dangerous seas as southerly swells battered the shores of the eastern suburbs.
The 7.85m inflatable fishing boat they set out in, the Brig Eagle, was hit by 5m waves around 10am and smashed into rocks at The Gap in Watsons Bay.
Mr Klingender’s naked body – clad only in socks – was found among debris strewn among the rocks below Jacobs Ladder in South Head.
Continued dangerous conditions throughout the weekend prevented police from recovering evidence from the ship and tragically the search for Mr Findlay was scaled back.
Questions remain as to why Arts Superintendent Tim Klingender (above, with his wife Skye McCardle) and his friend without life jackets went out in rough seas and crashed into rocks, finding the Indigenous expert’s naked body and still missing Andrew Findlay
Tech entrepreneur Andrew Findlay, 51, is still missing after making the fateful journey on a rough day of surfing in a fishing boat that eventually capsized on the rocks off Watsons Bay
Mr Klingender is a father of two 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.
Mr Findlay has been on celebrity circuits 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 musicians Angus McDonald and Connie Mitchel.
The friends are said to be “shaken to the core” by Mr Findlay’s disappearance and presumed death.
Comedian Magda Szubanksi led the tribute to Mr Klingender – who is credited with helping to establish international star status for artists such as Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Rover Thomas – by saying that she “greatly admires his incredible work promoting Indigenous arts”.
It is believed that Mr Klingender’s wife, Skye McCardle, had been traveling in Nepal and was due to return home around the time the tragedy struck.
These are the key questions to ask ahead of any NSW Coroner’s investigation into the fatal accident:
Tim Klingender (above with Wik artists from Aurukun in Sydney last December) is credited with helping bring Indigenous artists like Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Rover Thomas to international star status
why did they go out
Police later described the waters off Bondi and Watsons Bay as “violent sea conditions” on Thursday morning. The water temperature in July was too cold for anyone who fell overboard to survive for more than a day.
So why did the two take such a risk of making such high saves despite warnings and precautions being issued for both surfers and boaters?
Police searched the waters off Watsons Bay late last week after Thursday’s boating accident at sea likely resulted in the deaths of Tim Klingender and Andrew Findlay
How did the accident happen?
The men’s 7.8-metre dinghy, which weighs over a tonne, is said to have been too close to the cliff at Watsons Bay.
Their journey started around 7.30am, heading south from Bondi towards Watsons Bay, when they encountered large waves lashing the cliffs.
It is assumed that the men were too close to the cliffs for the conditions in which they were trolling; A method of fishing in which lines are pulled behind the boat.
Superintendent Joe McNulty of Marine Area Command said waves up to five meters high pushed the ship into the rocks.
Tech entrepreneur Andrew Findlay, up on Sydney Harbour, wore a life jacket but inexplicably wasn’t wearing one when he went fishing with his pal, art dealer Time Klingender last Thursday
“It looks like they were . . . swept up in a big wave that may have capsized the ship and.” [has] threw both men into the sea,” said Supt. McNulty said.
“Severe sea conditions and a violent accident occurred.”
Rescuers believe the boat hit a treacherous, hidden underwater ledge when hit by the massive surf.
After that the boat got stuck on the rocks under the cliffs of South Head.
Why weren’t they wearing life jackets?
Neither man was wearing life jackets and it is uncertain why, as their fishing rods were cast from behind while the boat continued ahead.
Both men appear to have been thrown into the sea when the ship capsized, and life jackets could have helped them stay afloat in the treacherous conditions after their boat capsized.
What robbed Mr. Klingender of his clothes and washed away Mr. Findlay’s body?
Dangerous ocean currents closed beaches in the eastern suburbs last Thursday, meaning once in the water both men were at the mercy of the conditions.
When the boat capsized, both or one of the two men could have been injured and thrown back and forth in the violent sea.
Her boat was found overturned and broken up at the foot of The Gap in Watsons Bay.
The men’s 25-foot (7.8 m) boat 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 was the search aborted?
The naval command completed the search on Saturday, a day after “the survival period, taking into account the water temperatures in July … expired”.
Once tipped into the raging sea, both men were tossed about in conditions that warned surfers it was “definitely not a day for anyone other than fit and experienced riders”. Strong south swell crushes magnets this morning.’
Caves and cliffs in the area were searched with a PolAir helicopter hovering over the coast trying to locate more of the boat and Mr Findlay.
Supt McNulty said Saturday’s deployment extended more than 20km, from South Head to Cape Solander near Botany Bay.
Naval Command Police will continue to search for the body of technology entrepreneur Andrew Findlay, but called off the full-scale search after three days, as by then it was suspected he was dead
Will Andrew Findlay ever be found?
The discovery of Tim Klingender’s remains shocked the Australian art world and, as art dealer Michael Reid has said, “inflicted an unimaginable and devastating loss on his family”.
But as terrible as her irreplaceable loss is, the anguish for Andrew Findlay’s loved ones will be even greater, as many in such situations say they would rather know exactly how things turned out than be puzzled.
Supt McNulty said over the weekend after a large-scale three-day search by sea and air: “We will continue the search for the second body, but on a much smaller scale because we now believe he is deceased.”