Fisherman told grandson to "call Nan" if he went under
LATEST: Drowning victim John Ryan told his five-year-old grandson Harry to ring his "Nan" if he went under while trying to retrieve his boat from Cooby Dam.
The directions turned out to be his last words after he became stuck in mud and failed to surface.
Young Harry showed incredible maturity and followed his grandfather's directions, raising the alarm by calling Mr Ryan's wife Sandra on a mobile phone about 3pm Wednesday.
Southern Cross Fishing Club president Kevin Pimm yesterday recounted the tragic tale.
Mr Pimm said Mr Ryan, 73, had been a member of the Toowoomba-based fishing club for about five or six years.
He said the Darling Heights man enjoyed sharing his love of fishing with his daughter Lindy and particularly with his grandson.
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Mr Pimm said it appeared Mr Ryan's fishing boat had drifted across the dam just after it was launched at the Loveday Cove boat ramp.
He said Mr Ryan and his grandson walked around the dam for about an hour-and-a-half to reach the stricken vessel on the other side.
"He has given the phone and instructions to his grandson and entered the water and went to retrieve the boat," Mr Pimm said.
"He said something like 'if I happen to go under, make sure you ring Nan'."
Mr Pimm understood another fisherman ferried family members across to where Harry was waiting after the alarm had been raised.
Friend of 45 years Chris Bell said Mr Ryan was a career soldier and a Vietnam War veteran before his retirement.
"He was also one of the nicest blokes you could meet and always ready to lend a hand and help anyone at any time," Mr Bell said.
"Skeeta always had a smile and good word to say about everyone.
"He had lots of special fishing skills that he was happy to pass on to all, no one more so than his grandson.
Mr Bell said his friend was active in other community organisations including a dog obedience club, Legacy and the Museum of Australian Army Flying at Oakey.
"Skeeta will be sadly missed by many, but within the Southern Cross Fishing Club he will always be remembered for his outgoing, friendly nature and his willing and active participation in all aspects of the club."
Southern region search and rescue coordinator Acting Senior Sergeant Jeremy Sheldrick said searchers including State Emergency Service volunteers, water police and members of the public scoured the dam until about 11.30pm Wednesday.
Police divers located Mr Ryan's body about 2pm Thursday.
Act. Snr Sgt Sheldrick said the search area had been defined by the use of sonar equipment.
YESTERDAY: Police have confirmed the man drowned in Cooby Dam yesterday as John "Skeeta" Ryan.
The Southern Cross Fishing Club member had been at the dam with family.
Police located the body this afternoon and drivers are attempting to retrieve Mr Ryan's body from the dam.
Investigations will continue into the cause of the drowning.
EARLIER: POLICE believe they have located the body of the 73-year-old man missing at Cooby Dam since yesterday afternoon.
Police divers are expected to retrieve the body within the next hour.
The man went missing about 3pm yesterday after he entered the dam to retrieve a boat.
Police have restricted access to the Cooby Dam recreation area.
UPDATE: The search for a 73-year-old man has resumed at Cooby Dam this morning.
Police have cordoned off the road to the recreation area at the site. The search was halted late last night.
The missing 73-year-old man was last seen about 3pm yesterday entering the water to retrieve a boat.
Water police, SES volunteers and police divers will resume the search this morning after bad light forced them to stop late last night.
The man went into the water to retrieve a boat about 3pm yesterday but failed to return.
Police arrived at the scene at 3.15pm after the alarm was raised.
The man was walking with his grandson along the bank of Cooby Creek before the incident occurred.
It is believed he entered the water to help a boat which had become stuck.
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The man became submerged and did not resurface.
Local fishers assisted police in the search using their boats to take officers out to the scene.
Police spoke with people at the Loveday Cove recreation area as part of their investigation.
Paramedics were assisting the man's family at the scene who were ferried back to the recreation area by nearby boaties.
A GPS marker of where the man was last sighted has been placed in Cooby Creek to help with the search.
EARLIER: EMERGENCY services are at Cooby Dam after a call alerted them to the possible drowning of a 72-year-old man.
Police were this afternoon speaking with people near a boat ramp at the Loveday Cove Recreation Area.
The alarm was raised about 3.15pm.
A fisherman has used his boat to ferry police across the dam from the boat ramp to the last place the missing man was seen.