The ill-fated boat trip from Sydney Harbor that led to the death of a high-profile industry expert and the presumed death of a tech guru has raised several questions that remain unanswered.
There is no explanation as to why Andrew Findlay, 51, and Aboriginal art businessman Tim Klingender, 59, went fishing in dangerous seas at 7.30am last Thursday when a southerly swell was battering the shores of the eastern suburbs.
The 7.85-metre Brig Eagle, an inflatable fishing boat, was hit by a 5m wave and crashed on the rocks at The Gap in Watson Bay at about 10am.
Mr Klingender’s naked body – wearing only socks – was found amid debris strewn across the rocks at the bottom of Jacob’s Ladder at South Head.
Prolonged dangerous conditions over the weekend prevented police from recovering evidence from the vessel and sadly the search for Mr Findlay was postponed.
There are questions about why art supremo Tim Klingender (above, with his wife Skye McCardell) and his friend went out into rough seas without life jackets and smashed against the rocks, leaving the naked body of the Aboriginal expert to be found, and Andrew Findlay still missing.
Tech entrepreneur Andrew Findlay, 51, remains missing after an ill-fated trip on a fishing boat on a day of rough surf that capsized on rocks in Watson Bay
Mr Klingender has two children with wife Skye McCardell Klingender, while Mr Findlay has three children with his ex-partner Lizzie Kemp, who was once married to cricket legend Brett Lee.
Mr Findlay socialized in celebrity circles in Sydney’s eastern suburbs and was close friends with model and Home and Away star Erica Henatz and her husband Andrew Kingston, artist Damon Downey and husband-and-wife musicians Angus McDonald and Connie Mitchell.
Friends are said to be ‘stunned to the core’ by Mr Findlay’s disappearance and presumed death.
Comedian Magda Subanksi led tributes to Mr Klingender – who is credited with helping to propel artists such as Emily Kame Kongwarei and Rover Thomas to international star status – saying she ‘admired his incredible work in promoting Indigenous art’.
Mr Klingender’s wife, Skye McCardell, is believed to have been traveling in Nepal and was due to return home when the tragedy happened.
These are the main questions that need to be answered leading up to a NSW Coroner’s fatal accident investigation:
Tim Klingender (with Aurukun’s Week artists in Sydney last December) is credited with propelling Indigenous artists such as Emily Kame Kongwarei and Rover Thomas to international star status.
Why did they go out?
Police would later describe the waters in Bondi and Watson Bay as ‘violent sea conditions’ on Thursday morning. July water temperatures were too cold for anyone to go overboard to survive more than a day.
So why did the pair risk so much to go out in such high conservation when warnings and cautions were issued for surfers and boaties alike?
Police searched the waters off Watson Bay late last week after a boating accident on the high seas ended Thursday with the possible deaths of Tim Clingender and Andrew Findlay.
How did the accident happen?
The men’s 7.8-metre inflatable vessel, which weighs more than a tonne, is said to be traveling too close to the Watson Bay cliff face.
Their trip started around 7.30am, heading south from Bondi towards Watson’s Bay when they encountered a large wave crashing into the cliffs.
It is understood that the men were too close to the cliff for the conditions in which they were trawling; A fishing method that involves trailing line behind the vessel.
Marine Area Command Superintendent Joe McNulty said the five meter high waves pushed the ship into the rocks.
Tech entrepreneur Andrew Findlay, above, wearing a life jacket in Sydney Harbour, inexplicably didn’t have one when he went fishing with his partner, industrialist Tim Klingender, last Thursday.
‘It looks like they were… hit by a big wave which probably capsized the ship and [has] Throwing both into the sea,’ Supt. McNulty said.
‘It was violent sea conditions and a violent accident occurred.
Rescuers believe the boat hit a treacherous hidden reef as it was buffeted by huge surf.
After that, the boat rested tightly against the rocks below the cliffs of South Head.
Why are they not wearing life jackets?
None were wearing life jackets, and it is unclear why their fishing rods were launched from behind as the boat moved forward.
Because both men appear to have been thrown overboard by the shipwreck, and life jackets could have helped them stay afloat in the treacherous conditions after the boat capsized.
What made Mr. Clingender take off his clothes and wash away Mr. Findlay’s body?
Dangerous sea swells closed the eastern suburbs beach last Thursday, meaning once both men were in the water they were at the mercy of the situation.
In a shipwreck, both or either person may be injured and thrown into the violent sea.
Their boat was found capsized and wrecked at the base of The Gap in Watsons Bay.
The men’s 7.8m boat was stranded on rocks below The Gap in Watsons Bay and the body of Tim Clingender was found in the wreckage, but there was no sign of Andrew Findlay.
Why did they stop searching?
The Marine Command ended the search on Saturday, a day after the ‘survival period … expired, taking into account water temperatures in July’.
Once they were introduced to the rolling sea, both men were thrown into situations that surfers warned were definitely not for anyone but experienced riders. Hard south slashing the magnet this morning.’
Caves and cliff faces around the area were searched with a PolAir helicopter hovering above the coast to try to locate the boat and Mr Findlay.
Supt McNulty said the operation on Saturday spanned more than 20km from South Head to Cape Solander near Botany Bay.
Marine Command police were still searching for the body of tech entrepreneur Andrew Findlay, but called off a large-scale search after three days because he was presumed dead by then.
Will Andrew Findlay ever be found?
The discovery of Tim Clingender’s remains has rocked the Australian art world, and art dealer Michael Reed said it was an ‘unimaginable and devastating loss for his family’.
But as terrible as their irreparable loss is, the pain will be even more intense for Andrew Findlay’s loved ones, in such a situation that many say they will know for sure how it ended rather than be surprised.
Super McNulty said after three days of a large-scale water and air search over the weekend, ‘We will continue to search, but looking at a much reduced scale for that second body because we now assume he is dead.’