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Trawler found off Queensland coast, bodies recovered

21 October 2017 7:22 AM
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Trawler found off Queensland coast, bodies recovered

BREAKING: The bodies of two fishermen have been found inside sunken slug boat Dianne, with four men still missing.

“Today divers commenced diving on the sunken vessel Dianne. They commenced mid morning,” Inspector Darren Sommerville said in an update from Gladstone police station at 4.30pm Saturday.

“As a result of the dives they’ve conducted they’ve located two male persons who are deceased and have been brought back to the surface and are now on board the police vessel.

“The divers have been hampered today by poor visibility and also debris in the vessel.

“Because of the depth that they’re diving the divers are only able to dive for 13 minutes at any time.”

The vessel is 30m below the surface, with the team of nine divers confronted by highly challenging conditions.

“It took a couple of dives to locate the male persons. It was simply because of firstly gaining entry and then moving debris.

“As you can imagine the boat sits on its roof on the ocean floor. There’s a large amount of debris that has been tossed about.

“Some of the dives just involve moving debris so they can them return and have another go.”

The first body was located in the wheel house. Insp Sommerville said he was unsure where the second body was found.

“The bodies at this stage haven’t been identified. The police vessel will be returning to Gladstone this evening and we’ll be making an attempt to identify the bodies.”

Ruben McDornan who survived 12 hours at sea after a fishing boat he was in capsized, has reunited with his family in Gladstone.

The six fishermen who went missing on Monday are skipper Ben Leahy, 45, and crew members Adam Hoffman, 30, Eli Tonks, 39, Adam Bidner, 33, Chris Sammut, 34, and Zach Feeney, 28.

Their vessel capsized and sank in treacherous conditions near the town of 1770 on Monday night.

“The police vessel Conroy will remain at the dive site. The remainder of the police and vessels will return, either to Gladstone or 1770 where they’ll be housed and rest and commence again on Sunday morning.

“They’re still clearing debris from the wheel house at the moment and are just starting to get below.”

Police believe they will discover the bodies of the four other missing men inside the vessel.

“There’s a lot of debris including mattresses, fridges, freezers, blankets, life jackets. Everything you’d expect to see on the inside of a boat which makes it extremely difficult for the divers to see.”

“It’s not the best scenario. We hoped that obviously we would be able to clear the whole vessel today. That hasn’t happened. They’ve been informed, they’re understanding.

“Obviously they’re upset and we’ll just see how it goes tonight with identification.”

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government’s “thoughts and prayers” were with the families of the men.

“I want to pay tribute to all officers involved the search, and to those who will now work in the recovery,” the premier said in a statement.


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