John Laverack: Human remains found in search for missing Kalbarri windsurfer identified

Liam Beatty & Elise Van AkenGeraldton Guardian
Police at the Chinaman's Beach dock in Kalbarri.
Camera IconPolice at the Chinaman's Beach dock in Kalbarri. Credit: Elise Van Aken

Human remains discovered on late Thursday have been confirmed as belonging to Kalbarri local John Laverack who went missing during gale-force winds the day before.

WA Police today said forensic testing on the recovered “biological material” confirmed it belonged to the 72-year-old man.

Mr Laverack had been missing since about 12pm Wednesday, when he was last seen by Marine Rescue volunteers falling from his board near the Murchison River mouth.

John Laverack has been missing since midday on Wednesday after falling into water at a river mouth near Kalbarri.
Camera IconJohn Laverack has been missing since midday on Wednesday after falling into water at a river mouth near Kalbarri. Credit: supplied

A desperate effort was launched and local Marine Rescue volunteers managed to spot the 72-year-old in the water on Wednesday afternoon, but lost sight of him before he could be rescued.

Bad weather conditions plagued the search effort, with Mid West Gascoyne District Insp. Dave Hooper saying search vessels had been battered by waves.

“The sea rescue vessel was almost overturned twice while it was in the area searching for the windsurfer…at some stage we had to withdraw that boat into safer waters as we continued the search,” he said.

A WA Police spokesperson said the family of Mr Laverack had been notified of the development and requested privacy during this tough time.

On Thursday Mr Laverack’s daughter, Kylie Edward, spoke to The West Australian, describing her father as a man passionate about his town and nature.

“Obviously I’m very appreciative of the rescue people involved in his search and the effort put in by helping ... a lot of his town’s people have reached out, which is very touching.”

“You’re a mad kite surfer but you love it, I know.”

The elderly man was knowing for his active nature around Kalbarri, fixing dunes, weeding and picking up rubbish around town.

An SES volunteer searching Jake's Point near Kalbarri for missing wind surfer John Laverack.
Camera IconAn SES volunteer searching Jake's Point near Kalbarri for missing wind surfer John Laverack. Credit: Elise Van Aken

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