A sailor who rescued a miracle survivor of a fishing tragedy that has left six men presumed dead has spoken of the emotional moment he was pulled to safety.
Ruben McDornan, 32, was one of seven men aboard cucumber trawler ‘Diane’ when it capsized off the Queensland town of Seventeen Seventy on Monday night.
Commercial fisherman Mal Priday and his wife Linda heard Mr McDornan’s desperate cries for help as he entered his eighth hour treading water in horrendous seas.
‘I’m not into hugging, but he gave me a hug I’ll never forget,’ Mr Priday told The New Daily.
Commercial fisherman Mal Priday and his wife Linda (pictured right together) heard Mr McDornan’s (left) desperate cries for help as he entered his eighth hour treading water in horrendous seas
Mr McDornan and is wife Sammy are pictured on their wedding day in July last year
The sailor who rescued Mr McDornan (pictured) spoke of the emotional moment he was pulled to safety
‘There was relief mixed with utter sadness and concern for his mates.’
Mr Priday said the exhausted fisherman’s first words to his rescuers were: ‘I’m just so happy to see you guys.’
Mr Priday, who was sailing with his wife Linda and two other crewmates, said it was a ‘one in ten million’ chance that they crossed paths with the sole known survivor.
‘If there was a one or two degree change in course or if we were travelling at a different speed, we wouldn’t have met him at the time we did,’ he told the Whitsunday Times.
‘There was relief mixed with utter sadness and concern for his mates,’ Mr Priday (pictured) said
Queensland Police divers resume their search on Sunday for four fisherman after their trawler capsized and sank off the Queensland coast
Mr McDornan, 32, was one of seven men aboard cucumber trawler ‘Diane’ (pictured) when it capsized off the Queensland town of Seventeen Seventy on Monday night
‘I’ve pulled people out of the water before but have never been in a situation like that in the middle of the ocean in rough conditions with a guy in the water saying come and get me.
‘I’m not looking forward to it happening again either. The timing of the whole thing was remarkable.’
Mr McDornan’s wife Sammy took to Facebook on Friday to thank her husband’s rescuers after an emotional reunion.
‘We got our boy back yesterday, and he is doing OK considering everything that has happened,’ she wrote.
Mr McDornan’s wife Sammy (pictured) took to Facebook on Friday to thank her husband’s rescuers after an emotional reunion
Mr McDornan and his wife Sammy embrace as they see each other for the first time since the tragedy
Eli Tonks (pictured with his fiancee Ana James) is one of six men presumed dead following the tragedy
‘Our love, thoughts and hope are with our slugger families still without their boys, please keep them in your thoughts. Thank you all so very very much!’
Two bodies were recovered from the wheelhouse of the sunken vessel on Saturday. The search for the remaining four men resumed on Sunday morning.
Adam Bidner, 33, Chris Sammut, 34, Eli Tonks, 39, Zach Feeney, 28, Adam Hoffman, 30, and 45-year-old skipper Ben Leahy are presumed dead.
Gladstone Police Inspector Darren Somerville said the two bodies had been bought back to shore for identification.
The husband and wife are seen as they reunite following Mr McDornan’s horrific ordeal
Pictured left is 30-year-old Adam Hoffman. He was one of the seven men on board the boat when it capsized. Right is Chris Sammut, also feared dead
The search for the remaining four men resumed on Sunday morning. Divers are pictured making their way to the wreckage
Mr Priday (pictured) said the exhausted fisherman’s first words to his rescuers were: ‘I’m just so happy to see you guys’
‘There’s a lot of debris including mattresses, fridges freezers, blankets, lifejackets – everything you’d expect to see on the inside of a boat, which makes it extremely difficult for the divers to see,’ he said on Saturday.
‘It’s not the best scenario, we had hoped to clear the whole vessel today, that hasn’t happened.’
Police used sonar equipment to locate the Dianne about two-to-three nautical miles off Round Hill Headland on Friday afternoon.
The vessel is about 30 metres underwater and was being guarded overnight with a 5km exclusion zone.
Inspector Somerville said the families of the missing men were being kept informed and were understanding of the difficulties facing divers.
Zachary Feeney (pictured left) and skipper 45-year-old skipper Ben Leahy (right) are thought to have died in the fishing accident
The vessel is about 30 metres underwater and was being guarded overnight with a 5km exclusion zone. It is believed 33-year-old Adam Bidner (pictured) is among the dead