A man tried to save his best friend after he slipped into the water at Salmon Rocks but a wave ripped them apart, an inquest has heard.
Robert Charles Mansell, 42, and Joshua Kennedy had been fishing on Flinders Island in August 2015 when Mr Kennedy's lure became snagged on a rock.
While giving evidence at the inquest into Robert Charles Mansell's disappearance, Mr Kennedy said Mr Mansell offered to free the lure for him.
"I told him to be careful," Mr Kennedy said.
After pulling at the lure for a few minutes, Mr Kennedy said Mr Mansell slipped and fell feet first into the water.
"When he was in the water he was saying 'help me'," Mr Kennedy said.
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Although Mr Kennedy was "not the best" swimmer and wore glasses because he's shortsighted, he jumped in after his mate.
Mr Kennedy said he put Mr Mansell on his back, put an arm around him and tried to do backstroke to the rocks, but "it was hard because of the tide".
"A wave hit us and we went into the rock and that's when I lost him," Mr Kennedy said.
He managed to grab some kelp and pull himself back to the rocks, the inquest heard.
Cold and exhausted, Mr Kennedy said he lied on a rock for five minutes before looking for Mr Mansell.
He looked for his friend without his glasses on for up to 15 minutes before retrieving his clothes.
Mr Kennedy told the inquest he called triple-0 but it failed because his mobile phone didn’t have reception.
Counsel assisting the coroner Jane Ansell told the court Mr Kennedy’s phone records did not indicate he called triple-0.
But the phone records did show two calls were made from Mr Kennedy’s phone shortly after Mr Mansell disappeared; one three-second call to Stephanie Riggall and another to the phone’s message bank.
After Mr Kennedy was given a short break to review his mobile phone call record he agreed there was no record of the triple-0 call.
Ms Ansell also questioned Mr Kennedy's actions immediately after what appeared to be an attempted heroic rescue.
She asked why he didn't call triple-0, run for help or wave down a car.
Mr Kennedy told the court he wasn't thinking straight and was in shock.
Ms Ansell probed Mr Kennedy about his relationship with Mr Mansell and whether the pair had any physical altercations.
Despite denying the accusation multiple times before the lunch break, Mr Kennedy eventually told the inquest there were occasions where verbal arguments between the two men turned physical.
Coroner Olivia McTaggart asked Mr Kennedy when he remembered.
"You've changed your evidence dramatically now on this point," Ms McTaggart said.
He told the court he remembered during the inquest's lunch break.
The inquest concluded on Thursday, with Coroner Olivia McTaggart adjourning sine die.
Mr Mansell’s older brother Anthony Haines thanked Ms McTaggart on behalf of the family, saying the inquest had been extremely thorough.