Search called off for missing New Zealander Jordan Kelly in Australia

  • 03/06/2021
Jordan Kelly.
Jordan Kelly went missing while training for a surf ski competition last Saturday. Photo credit: Facebook / Givealittle

The search for a New Zealander who went missing off the coast of Brisbane on Saturday has been called off, his family has confirmed.

Jordan Kelly, 26, had been training for a surf ski competition off Stradbroke Island near Moreton Bay when his friend Jack McDonald's ski began to take on water.

It's understood Kelly paddled over to help, with both ending up clinging to their skis in the cold water until dark.

Though McDonald managed to make it back to shore, Kelly remains missing. A large-scale search and rescue operation was launched but he has yet to be found.

On Wednesday night, five days on from his disappearance, sister Danielle Brittain announced a decision had been made to abandon the search.

"It's with heavy hearts that we would like to inform everyone that tonight at sunset we have decided to end the search mission for Jord," she wrote in a Facebook post.

"This has been a difficult decision and it will be incredibly tough to leave him, but Rachel and our family, have found comfort and are at peace that he has found his resting place where he loved to be the most, and what a beautiful spot he chose."

Brittain went on to thank the thousands who had been involved in the search for her brother.

"We are so grateful and will never be able to thank you enough."

Earlier this week, a Givealittle page set up to raise funds for the search operation raised $50,615 in just 23 hours. Brittain said these donations would be given to volunteer organisations.

"Thanks to all of Jordan’s family and friends for all your messages and support. Stradbroke Island will forever be a special place for us all."

On Tuesday, Brisbane Water Police's Acting Senior Sergeant Mitch Gray told ABC Kelly and McDonald had planned to remain close to shore, but "something's taken a turn".

He said McDonald was "doing it tough" in the aftermath of his friend's disappearance.

"Being there all the way to the end and then having to make that decision to paddle back to land - I can't imagine what that would feel like."