Appeal set up to help fishermen's families
A MAJOR fundraising campaign has been launched to assist the friends and families of the six fishermen who died in the FV Dianne tragedy off central Queensland's coast.
It comes as police yesterday confirmed that the second body to have been recovered from the fishing boat, which sank a week ago north of the Town of 1770, was Cairns- based skipper Ben Leahy.
Fellow Cairns resident Adam Hoffman's body was recovered from the wreck at the weekend, but crew members Eli Tonks, 39, Adam Bidner, 33, Chris Sammut, 34, and Zach Feeney, 28, are still missing.
In a statement yesterday, Mr Leahy's family said the confirmation of the 45-year-old's death had devastated them and all his friends.
"While his death is an immeasurable loss to us, we do feel so blessed to have had him in our lives," they said.
"Ben's unique character and personality will leave us with many cherished memories.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of the fine young men still missing."
The family thanked emergency services and volunteers for their tireless efforts during the search for the Dianne and its crew.
"Their courage and dedication in these challenging circumstances has been immensely appreciated," they said.
"We want to specifically acknowledge the outstanding support we have received from the police and the people of the Gladstone area.
"The outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community at large during this terrible tragedy has been of much comfort to us and we are so grateful. Thank you.
"Our beloved Ben is gone from our lives but forever in our hearts."
Sandi Lunn, the co-owner of Agnes Water/1770 Bait & Tackle, has set up a GoFundMe campaign, to help ease the financial burden the families had incurred through the tragedy.
"The funds raised are to be used to help in costs incurred during the search rescue operation, travelling expenses to/from Cairns where the families are based, funeral expenses, trauma recovery and loss of income during this trying time," she said.
To donate, head to www.gofundme.com/the-diane-trawler-tragedy