Grieving mum of Geraldton man Dean Thomas Gellatly thanks emergency services for search efforts

Geraldton Guardian
Police and other emergency services were involved in a two-day search for Mr Gellatly (inset).
Camera IconPolice and other emergency services were involved in a two-day search for Mr Gellatly (inset). Credit: Adam Poulsen

The mother of Dean Thomas Gellatly, who died while diving off Geraldton, has paid tribute “with heavy heart” to those involved in last week’s land and sea search.

Kathleen Gellatly said she was sincerely thankful to Midwest Gascoyne Police for their support.

“The sensitivity and respect shown to me at such a difficult time was very much appreciated,” she said.

“A special shout out to Sergeant Keith Burrows for your compassion shown.

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“So glad Dean was with someone he knew and respected after he was found.”

She also thanked the State Emergency Service, Geraldton and Kalbarri Volunteer Marine Rescue Groups, Fremantle Water Police, Geraldton Surf Life Saving Club, private vessels, volunteers and others.

“The speed in which the search commenced was unbelievable,” she said. “Unfortunately the end result has been devastating but at least I have my son home.”

In her words: Kathleen's message in full

Mr Gellatly was reported missing on New Year’s Day when he failed to call a friend after a planned solo scuba dive, sparking a two-day search.

Those efforts came to a tragic end last Friday when a woman taking an early morning walk discovered Mr Gellatly’s body at St Georges Beach.

The 41-year-old Spalding delicatessen owner — and member of a well-known shearing family who lived in Perenjori for generations — was found in the shallows about 7.20am. Incident controller Sergeant Chris Martin said Mr Gellatly was found wearing diving equipment and appeared to have entered the water about 9.30am on New Year’s Day.

“At some stage during his water activities, he has become distressed in the water and succumbed to the conditions,” Sgt Martin said.

Sgt Martin said it was too early to say whether or not Mr Gellatly had the correct equipment or the necessary experience to carry out the dive safely, and there was no suggestion of criminality.

“It just appears that it’s a tragic accident,” Sgt Martin said.

A report will be prepared for the coroner.

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