Nigel Kitchen, one of the two fishermen missing off the western coast of Australia
Nigel Kitchen, 50, emigrated several years ago but still has family members in Bolton, it is understood. An expat from Manchester has gone missing in Australia after he failed to return from a boating trip in the ocean.
Friends and relatives face an anguished wait for news after Nigel and friend Andrew Hines, aged 57, disappeared while on the ocean.
Divers from a charter boat taking part in the search discovered a human arm on the seabed in the area where the two are thought to have been. It will be sent for tests.
They had gone to catch mackerel on a reef but the alarm was raised when they failed to return as scheduled.
Two helicopters, two fixed wing planes and 10 boats were involved in the first day’s search of 500 square miles of water and it resumed when the arm was found on the ocean floor.
He now lives with his family in Port Kennedy, a suburb in southern Perth in Western Australia and is a committee member at the Mangles Bay Fishing Club near his home.
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His daughter Jessica posted on Facebook: “Alright dad, you know what I want for my birthday. Come home.”
Mr Kitchen’s brother Duncan Edwards said: “Come home brother.”
A former school friend said: “He was my friend when I was young, when we 15 or 16.
“He emigrated years ago — it must have been 20 or 30 years.
“I’ve got him as a friend on Facebook. I just wish him Happy Birthday every year and ‘like’ his posts and he’d put pictures of his fishing trips on there.
“I’m worried and I’m just waiting for news.”
Messages of support have been flooding social media from the UK and Australia as news filtered through of the disappearance.
Perth businesswoman Alison Gee wrote: “Hoping that Nigel and Andrew are both found safe and sound.
“Both are long-time customers of ours and we have shared many a drink together.
“Both of them are experienced boaties so we have everything crossed.”
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Media reports from Australia say the men had set out in Mr Hines’ boat from Coral Bay, a village 1,200km to the north of Perth, for their annual fishing trip on Sunday.
A Western Australian Police spokeswoman said: “It will undergo forensic examination and it may take several days for results.”
Debris from a hull and personal possessions discovered on Monday washed up on the shore have been discounted as being from the missing men’s boat.
The original police statement said: “A Marine Search and Rescue operation is currently under way off the coast of Coral Bay for two fisherman that failed to return last night.
“The men from Perth are aged in their 50s and departed Coral Bay yesterday morning in a 8.2-metre vessel.
“They usually return before sunset, however, the boat trailer and vehicle are still parked at the boat ramp at Monk Head.”
Mr Hines, of Cooloogup, a suburb that neighbours Port Kennedy, is a father-of-two, who friends said on Facebook is a retired Petty Officer with the Naval Police Coxswains.