Emotional return for lost trawler survivor

Capsized trawler survivor Ruben McDornan and his wife Sammy. Picture: Liam Kidston
Capsized trawler survivor Ruben McDornan and his wife Sammy. Picture: Liam Kidston

THE man believed to be the sole survivor of last week's horror fishing trawler disaster has returned home to Cairns with his family.

Ruben McDornan, 32, was pulled from the water off Central Queensland after he escaped sinking vessel Dianne and treading water for hours.

The bodies of two of his crewmates, Adam Hoffman, 30, and skipper Ben Leahy, 45, were found inside the sunken vessel by police divers, while the four remaining crew, Eli Tonks, 39, Adam Bidner, 33, Chris Sammut, 34, and Zach Feeney, 28, remain missing.

Mr McDornan's wife, Sammy, posted an emotional homecoming message on Facebook, having left behind many family members of the missing crew who have remained in the Gladstone area to continue the search for them.

Police have indicated the official search is likely to be scaled back this week.

"Bittersweet feelings but we are home! Leaving our slugger family was so hard and everyone is constantly in our thoughts ... sending all our love," Mrs McDornan posted.

She has also paid tribute to several fundraisers taking place around Cairns in support of the men and their families.

Among these is a giant car boot sale which is being held at Fretwell Park in Bentley Park tomorrow which is being supported by former rugby league star Beau Ryan.

The ex-Kangaroos player posted a video to social media urging residents to get involved.

"It's a place where we can go and raise as much money as we can for the families of those that have been affected by this terrible, awful fishing trawler tragedy," he said.

"My heart goes out to everyone up there."

The sale will run from 8-11am tomorrow and spots can be booked by contacting local radio station Triple M.

A GoFundMe page run by the men's families is also gaining momentum with close to $28,000 already raised.

Richard Taylor, a family friend of Mr Bidner, said it was hoped the money could be used to help extend the search.

To donate go to

Topics:  cairns survivor trawler

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Tour gives a valuable ag insight

FIRST-HAND: Withcott Seedlings compliance manager Joe Shiels talks to participants of the the pilot AgWork tour.

The pilot AgWork tour was held last week.

Lake Clarendon says no way to bullying

STAND TOGETHER: Principal Susan Wright and school captains Xanthea Kugel and Felicity Boon with the anti-bullying pledge.

Take a stand and say 'No way!' to bullying

Jackson finds his family at Lowood High

STUDENTS' BESTFRIEND: Lowood State High School student Sophie, with the school's beloved assistance dog, Jackson.

Lowood High's fifth school captain is a little different.

Local Partners