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Last Updated: Friday April 20 2007 08:45 GMT

Mystery of 'ghost' yacht

The yacht found floating around 160km east of Townsville, Australia

There's mystery as to what's happened to the crew of a boat found floating off Australia.

The yacht was found with its engine running and a table laid for dinner, but there were no signs of any people.

An air and sea rescue operation has been launched to find the three crew. Rescue workers say they are puzzled by the mysterious disappearance.

All the vessel's sails were up, although one was badly shredded, and lifejackets were still on board.

The 12m catamaran was found drifting off the North Queensland coast.

Map

Emergency worker spokesman Jon Hall said: "The engine was running, the computers were running, there was a laptop set up on the table which was running, the radio was working.

"And there was food and utensils set on the table ready to eat. It was a bit strange."

Rescuers are now using navigational gear to retrace the boat's movement to see if that sheds any light on the mystery.