Shire leader killed after boat swamped off south coast

Michael TraillAlbany Advertiser
Williams shire president John Cowcher.
Camera IconWilliams shire president John Cowcher. Credit: WA News

The community of Williams is in mourning after Shire president John Cowcher was killed in a freak accident at Peaceful Bay near Denmark on Wednesday.

Mr Cowcher was fishing on the water with his wife and their son off Peaceful Bay, about 50km west of Denmark, when their small boat was capsized by a wave.

He became unresponsive after a passing boat collected him from the water.

A number of people, including a Doctor and off-duty Paramedic preformed CPR on Mr Cowcher, while his family members were brought to shore unharmed soon after.

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St John Ambulance from Walpole arrived a short time later and conveyed Mr Cowcher to Denmark Hospital but sadly died on arrival.

Mr Cowcher served as a councillor for the Shire of Williams since 1993, and was appointed shire president in 1999 after holding the position of deputy president for two years.

Shire of Williams chief executive Geoff McKeown said Mr Cowcher was a loved member of the small Wheatbelt community.

“We heard yesterday of John’s passing following an incident that occurred down at Peaceful Bay,” he said.

Peaceful Bay is a popular south coast holiday destination.
Camera IconPeaceful Bay is a popular south coast holiday destination. Credit: Shannon Smith

“(It’s a) very sad time for everyone in Williams... John was very influential as a leader in the Williams community and he’ll be surely missed by everyone here at the shire.”

The Shire of Williams issued a statement on Thursday morning.

“It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to our longest serving president, mentor and friend,” it read.

“You will be greatly missed.

“A true gentleman that has touched the lives of so many.

“Our love and support goes out to Heidi, Christopher and Michael.”

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a marine wind warning for the area on Wednesday, with a south-westerly breeze predicted to bring a swell of up to three metres inside Peaceful Bay.

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