The family of a 43-year-old father-of-four swept out to sea off South Australia‘s Mary Ellis Beach say they are still hoping for a miracle despite the man being missing for almost two full days.
Dan Cojocea, from the central South Australian mining town of Roxby Downs, was swimming off Mary Ellis Beach, which is 251km north-west of Adelaide, along with six children when they were caught in a powerful rip at around 4pm on Friday.
Rescuers managed to bring the six children from the water with four being taken to hospital to be treated for mild hypothermia.
Father-of-four Dan Cojocea, 43, has been missing since being swept out to sea off South Australia
However, despite a desperate search with police helicopters, SES drones, a boat and ground crews taking part, there has been no sign of Mr Cojocea since he was carried out to sea.
Mr Cojocea’s sister, Camelia Cantell, told the Adelaide Advertiser her family was ‘just hoping for that one in a million miracle’.
‘We’re still holding the highest hope in believing,’ she said.
‘Until there’s a resolution, until we find him, then we hope.
‘Maybe one day he’ll just laugh about it, about his adventures, he likes to tell a good story.’
Ms Cantell urged anyone who might be able to assist to contact police.
Mr Cojocea’s sister describes the father-of-four as a fantastic and funny man who is loved by all
A desperate search effort involving helicopters, drones, boats and ground crews is yet to locate Mr Cojocea
‘We just want to find him,’ she said.
‘We’re believing that maybe he’s bumped his leg or whatever, but we’re believing in the best outcome. It’s never over until it’s over.’
She said Mr Cojocea was a ‘funny, fantastic man’ who was loved by everybody, especially his family.
SA Police Superintendent Paul Bahr said there were challenging conditions when Mr Cojocea went missing with the wind whipping up ‘quite high’ waves ‘dumping severely’.
‘It was difficult conditions for swimmers,’ he said.
‘At this stage, the weather conditions are warm, the sea temperature is warm and we are not giving up hope just yet.’
He said visitors to the region needed to be aware that waters off the coastline were part of the Southern Ocean and subject to everything that comes with an ocean.’
Mary Ellis Wreck Beach is a small, surf beach 20 minutes south-west of Port Lincoln.
‘Please note, this beach has a rip and there are no surf patrols in the area,’ the Port Lincoln website warns.