Family in turmoil after fishing tragedy
By LEE McDOUGALL
SHARON Slater can't even begin to imagine how her husband Rodney feels at present. While she can see the thousands of cuts and lacerations that cover his body as a result of his gargantuan climb over rocks to raise the alarm following a fishing trip gone horribly wrong two weeks ago, it is the scars she can't see that concern her the most. Sitting quietly at the couple's Emerald Beach home, Mrs Slater recounts the events of the past month with a calmness and control that belies the enormous grief and loss she has had to endure. On July 15, Mrs Slater's father, Scott Adam, died suddenly while working at his brother's Bonville sawmill. "I was really close to my dad and losing him knocked me pretty hard," Mrs Slater said. "I'd been walking around in a dream. Nothing had prepared me for losing him. It knocked my feet out from under me and then this happened." The 'this' she refers to is the fateful fishing trip off Arrawarra two weeks ago that made national headlines as four men went out on a calm Saturday afternoon for a quiet bit of fishing, but only two returned. Sadly for the Adam and Slater families, the tragedy was magnified by the fact that one of the two deceased fishermen was Mrs Slater's brother, Greg. "It was an accident. I don't know what else to say," Mrs Slater said. "There are rumours that it's a murder investigation. That hurts. As far as Rodney and Jarrod (second survivor Jarrod Jones) are concerned, one minute they were in the boat, the next minute they were fighting for their lives." While the rumours persist, the truth of what actually happened that fateful day may never be known. All Mrs Slater does know is that her husband rang her about 5.45pm to say the men had had a good afternoon and were heading in. Soon after, however, everything went unexpectedly, tragically wrong. Immediately following the capsize, three of the four men ? Rodney, Jarrod and Greg ? remained together in the water, while the fourth fisherman, Andrew Meng, stayed with the stricken craft. After some time in the water, with the trio making little headway as they struggled towards land, Rodney decided that the best option was for him to swim for it and raise the alarm. He made it to Arrawarra Headland. "When I got there, Rodney was sitting under one of those silver ambulance blankets. He looked at me and I swear he didn't know who I was," Mrs Slater said. About 50 minutes later, Jarrod made it onto the beach but it wasn't until a week later that Greg Adam's body was found on Mullaway Beach, while Andrew Meng's remains were found on Tuesday at the southern end of Shelly Beach at Ballina, nearly 200km away. The funeral for Greg Adam will be held on Monday at the Hogbin Drive Crematorium, while Andrew Meng's funeral will be held in Noosa later this week.