Court told net on sunken boat’s propeller

Laine Clark |

A fishing net was found wrapped around the propeller of a boat involved in a fatal marine incident in the Brisbane River, a court has heard.

Stan Anthoulas, 54, has pleaded not guilty to contravening the general safety obligation of a ship owner, causing death or grievous bodily harm after the February 2016 tragedy that claimed a woman’s life.

Anthoulas was pulled from the water before emergency services attempted to revive the woman after the 4.8m sports boat sank 50m off Murarrie, Brisbane District Court was told on Tuesday.

When they recovered the boat, police discovered the engine was tilted upwards and “not in a normal position … if a boat was using the motor”, crown prosecutor Danny Boyle said.

“It was also noted that there was a fishing net wrapped around the propeller of the engine,” he said.

“Water was also seen … leaking from the hull in a number of places.

“There was a significant quantity of water from the starboard (right) compartment below the deck.”

Water police testing, in which the boat was refloated for almost six hours, later discovered Anthoulas’ craft could have been “dangerously unstable”, Mr Boyle said.

An inspection by Maritime Safety Queensland also found two fractures on the boat’s hull and a black sealant applied to other areas “which appear to be attempts at maintenance”.

“It is the Crown’s case that the boat sank because it was unseaworthy,” Mr Boyle said.

Anthoulas – who is representing himself – became emotional when images of the woman receiving treatment from emergency services were shown during cross-examination of witnesses.

One of them, Lindsay Snell, was in a ski boat when he heard people calling out and arrived at the sinking craft with Anthoulas in the water.

He saw the woman trapped underneath the forward deck, with her legs sticking out.

Mr Snell said she had a lifejacket wrapped around her arm “almost like a tourniquet” when he helped remove her body.

“I had to manhandle her and it was pretty clear her body was cold,” he said.

“I tried to see if there was any signs of life (but) her eyes were open and glazed.”

The trial before Judge Tony Moynihan continues.