Tragedy as body is found in search for jockey who was swept out to sea during late-night swim with a female friend
- The body of Jockey Chris Caserta has been found on Friday morning
- Chris Caserta, 26, got into trouble in late-night swim at Surfers Paradise Beach
- He was swimming with female track worker, who was rescued by onlookers
- Racing world mourns ‘terrific bloke and hard worker’
The body of missing jockey Chris Caserta is believed to have been found after he was swept out to sea during a late night swim.
Gold Coast Water Police and Search Commander Senior Sergeant Jay Notaro said the time frame for Mr Caserta’s survival had elapsed after intense search efforts stretching from South Stradbroke Island to Burleigh Heads failed to find him.
‘It is an absolute tragedy at any time, but particularly just before Christmas,’ Sen Sgt Notatro said on Thursday.
‘On behalf of the Queensland Police Service, I’d like to pass on our sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in the racing industry.
‘We’ll continue to search and our goal is to return Chris to his family.’
Mr Caserta, 26, disappeared after going swimming with a 25-year-old woman – reportedly apprentice jockey Amy Graham – at the beach off the Esplanade about 10pm on Wednesday.
Onlookers saw the couple struggling in the water and were able to help the woman to the shore.
She was reportedly in a distressed state and had swallowed sea water.
The search for jockey Chris Caserta (pictured) was reduced to a search for his body after intense efforts to locate him failed following a late-night swim.
The LifeFight chopper was deployed, tasked by the Queensland Police Service on Wednesday evening to help scour the coastline.
Surf Lifesaving Queensland, Gold Coast City Council, volunteer marine rescue, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and South Stradbroke Island Park Ranger also assisted in the search.
Sen Sgt Notaro added it’s a reminder to not go swimming at times or in places where there is no lifesavers on duty.
‘By not doing so, you’re putting your own life at risk and also putting the lives at risk of those people who try and rescue you,’ he said.
Garry Legg, who managed Caserta for six months up until six weeks ago was among those rocked by the news.
‘He’s terrific bloke, a good rider and one of the hardest workers I know,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
The Melbourne jockey (pictured) relocated to the Gold Coast earlier this year
Caserta relocated to the Gold Coast late last year after Covid-19 lockdowns in Victoria impacted on riding opportunities.
‘I’m approaching it as a fresh start and we’ll see how things go,’ he told racing.com at the time.
Caserta has recorded five wins and 16 minor placings from 115 starts this year.
Over the course of his career, he had 154 wins from 2,181 race rides.
‘He was really making a go out of his move to the Gold Coast,’ Mr Legg told Daily Mail Australia.
‘His hard work for paying off as he was getting rides for Chris Waller and other top trainers.’
His former manager told Daily Mail Australia Chris Caserta (pictured) was ‘a terrific bloke and a good rider and one of the hardest workers I know’
Caserta’s promising career has also been plagued by serious injuries, including a broken leg, which sidelined him for 18 months.
He became the talk of the racing world in 2019 following after his weight loss to ride Jedastar at 44kg in the Group 1 Lightning Stakes at Flemington.
Caserta, who’s had 154 career wins told News Corp earlier this year he would love another chance to ride at racing’s highest level.
Chris Caserta was seen entering the water near Tower 34 at Surfers Paradise Beach