One of the bodies found on Bribie Island has been identified as Pelican Waters father Kurt Butler.
One of the bodies found on Bribie Island has been identified as Pelican Waters father Kurt Butler. Contributed/Facebook

Family's grief for devoted father killed in Bribie tragedy

FRIENDS and family are mourning a Sunshine Coast man whose life revolved around his daughter, after he was found dead on Bribie Island.

Detectives yesterday said the deaths of Kurt Butler and his friend, a female tourist, were a result of misadventure. 

Their bodies were found on the shore about 3km from the northern tip of Bribie Island on Saturday.

The woman had only been holidaying on the Sunshine Coast for several days before the tragedy, and was visiting Mr Butler after meeting him in Canada.

Those close to Mr Butler have described him foremost as a loving father to seven-year-old Ruby Miles-Butler, who lived with her mother Jennifer Miles in Canada.

Ms Miles said Mr Butler adored his daughter, and his room at the mine camp was covered with photos of Ruby alongside her artwork.

"Kurt gave me the best gift of my entire life: our daughter, Ruby," she said. 

"He loved her deeply... this is a huge loss for the future of Ruby's life.

"The two have a beautiful close bond."

Ms Miles first met Mr Butler in 2008, before Ruby was born in 2010.

While "things fell apart for awhile" and the pair moved into separate homes, Ms Miles said they found love for each other again in recent years.

Ms Miles said after she had to move to Canada for work and brought Ruby with her, Mr Butler would stay in contact via video chat.

He was employed as a FIFO mining worker with Newcrest Mining in Papua New Guinea, but "constantly" travelled across the globe to visit Ruby and Ms Miles.

"Kurt found a love of skiing since he has been joining us in Canadian winters," Ms Miles said.

"I taught him with Ruby over the last few winters and he had planned to take Ruby to Whistler this coming winter."

Friend Maureen Jenkinson said Mr Butler's death was a "truly sad, tragic accident", and described him as "a lovely, honest man who had great values and principles".

"He was a fantastic father who loved his daughter dearly," Mrs Jenkinson said.

"Our lives were richer by having had the privilege to know and spend time with Kurt."



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