Sammy and Ruben McDornan.
Sammy and Ruben McDornan. 60 Minutes

Dianne trawler survivor: 'I thought I was going to die'

THE sole survivor of the trawler FV Dianne thought he was going to die as he clung to the hull of the vessel before it sank in treacherous conditions off coast of 1770.

Ruben McDornan said he heard the screams of his friends trapped inside the boat before it went down in October last year.

"I just screamed into the hull and I heard a voice scream straight back," he told 60 Minutes, in an interview that will air tonight.

 

The fishing trawler, Dianne, which capsized north of Bundaberg.
The fishing trawler, Dianne, which capsized north of Bundaberg. Queensland Police Service

Mr McDornan said he could hear some banging, the Sunday Mail said.

"They were working on something, they were making efforts. They never stopped making an effort to get out."

The bodies of 30-year-old Adam Hoffman and 45-year-old Ben Leahy were later located by police divers.

The remaining fishermen - 39-year-old Eli Tonks, 33-year-old Adam Bidner, 28-year-old Zach Feeney and 34-year-old Chris Sammut - are presumed to have perished after police failed to find their bodies inside the salvaged wreck when it was finally lifted onto dry land earlier this year.

 

TRAWLER: The Dianne being lifted out of the water at Bundaberg.
TRAWLER: The Dianne being lifted out of the water at Bundaberg. Ashley Clark

"We were brothers," Mr McDornan said of his crew mates.

He said they became trapped in darkness after the boat overturned in heavy seas.

"It did one roll and just continued," he said.

"You try to open your eyes underwater at night in the ocean, it's not like opening your eyes underneath the pool.

"I was starting to think I was going to die, then I just gave the biggest roar of adrenaline."

 

Capsized trawler survivor Ruben Dornan reunited with his wife Sammy and mother after a rescue helicopter transported him from Agnes Waters to Gladstone Airport.
Capsized trawler survivor Ruben Dornan reunited with his wife Sammy and mother after a rescue helicopter transported him from Agnes Waters to Gladstone Airport. Liam Kidston

Mr McDornan said he managed to escape and spent the night treading water in open seas before being saved by a couple on a passing yacht who heard his yells for help.

He said thoughts of his partner Sammy gave him the strength to survive.

"I was talking to Sammy a lot. I was just saying, don't worry, I'm going to make it, and I'm not going to disappoint you," the Sunday Mail reports.

"To me, the feeling was really weird. It was like I was letting her down by not giving it my all."

-AAP



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