Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Rohan Daniel Wilson

Delivered on 23 November 2016 at Perth.

Finding of Coroner Linton.


The deceased was last seen on the morning of 15 June 2016 as he prepared to go fishing in his boat in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Mindarie. At the time of his death the deceased had no known medical conditions and was reasonably fit for his age. He was 38 years old. He had no known issues with drugs or alcohol and he was able to swim.

The deceased owned a 6.4 metre registered power boat, which was named Hot Gossip. It had an inboard petrol motor. He was an experienced boat handler, having owned his vessel for 12 or 13 years and he regularly had his boat serviced.

The deceased was described as very safety conscious and had a marine radio and a full suite of safety equipment on board. It is thought that he had not been out in it for possibly two or three months prior to 15 June 2016.

On the morning of 15 June 2016 the deceased left a detailed note for his wife about his planned voyage.

Police investigations found evidence that the deceased obtained fuel from the Caltex petrol station in Clarkson, at which time he was alone, before launching his boat at 11:20am at the Mindarie Marina boat ramp.

The deceased’s car and trailer were subsequently located by the police at the marina, indicating he had not returned to that location after launching his boat that morning.

The deceased’s wife received a text message from the deceased at about 2:45pm.

When he had not returned by 8pm that evening, as planned, the deceased’s wife made a number of attempts to contact the deceased on his mobile telephone, without success. The deceased’s wife then contacted the Whitfords Volunteer Marine Rescue Group and the Water Police to advise that the deceased was missing.

On 17 June 2013 during search operations vessel crews located and collected various items of flotsam and debris, most of which were subsequently discounted as being related to the deceased. Some debris appeared to be white plastic and noted to be in similar shape and appearance to a white plastic ice-box or Esky seen in photographs of the vessel provided by the deceased’s wife.

Despite extensive searching by both organisations and significant media coverage the deceased has not been located and there has been no confirmed sign of the missing vessel, Hot Gossip.

The Coroner concluded the general evidence including some debris found suggested that a catastrophic fire or explosion occurred on the boat sometime after 3:30pm on 15 June 2016 that resulted in the boat sinking into the ocean almost without a trace. The deceased died as a result of that catastrophic event.

Catch Words

Missing Person : Catastrophic Event : Accident.

Last updated: 25 August 2022

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