Sunken fishing trawler off Queensland coast to be examined by police divers


A recovery operation will start on Saturday to salvage a fishing trawler that sank off the Queensland coast earlier this week.

Police divers have been attempting to reach the vessel this morning to hopefully recover the bodies of the men still missing.

Four of the six missing men have been named as experienced skipper Ben Leahy, crew members Adam Hoffman, Eli Tonks and Adam Bidner.

Rescuers have been scouring the waters near Middle Island, north of the town of Seventeen Seventy in central Queensland state, but police said on Friday the hunt had switched to a recovery phase.

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'We're really thankful to the people that rescued Ruben and to all the people out searching for the boys and just for everyone's support, ' a tearful Ms McDornan said.

"Today, the families expressed their appreciation for the work that is now being done in relation to the search for the missing men and the thoughts of the community, however they ask for privacy and compassion during this extremely hard time", the statement said.

He was reunited with his wife and mother in Gladstone on Thursday. He was rescued after he clung to the overturned hull for several hours.

"They'll have to go down there and assess it before we can make any further statements".

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Debris from the ship including wetsuits and personal belongings have washed up on shore, and police are asking all fisherman in the area who may find anything from the boat to report it immediately.

Six men are believed to have died when the fishing boat sank in heavy seas on Monday night.

The trawler is on the ocean floor in 30 metres of water.

On Wednesday afternoon, police admitted the men, who had been fishing for sea cucumber, would have nearly zero chance of survival without a life raft.

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The Bundaberg-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter is one of many aircraft involved in the aerial search, which is being hampered by bad weather.