Mother nature holds up final chapter in trawler tragedy

The fishing trawler, Dianne, which capsized north off the coast of Seventeen Seventy on October 16, 2017.
The fishing trawler, Dianne, which capsized north off the coast of Seventeen Seventy on October 16, 2017. Queensland Police Service

MOTHER nature has intervened yet again in the midst of the operation aimed at recovering the trawler Dianne from the depths of Bustard Bay.

Last week the effort to rig and lift the sunken vessel from about 30m of water was hampered by 37km/hr winds and rough conditions at sea.

Salvage crew divers managed to roll the Dianne on Monday, December 4 after she had been lying on her roof since October 16, 2017, the day she sunk about five nautical miles off Round Hill Headland.

Now, almost three months later, a barge and tug boat remain on stand-by at Bundaberg for the all-clear from weather experts.

Salvage crews hoped the sunken trawler would be lifted in November, however, these efforts were delayed by similar rough weather conditions.

Once the weather-dependent operation is resumed, it is expected to take a few days to bring the Dianne to the surface.

"The vessel's obviously quite heavy ... and the tide affects it, the swell affects it, and the wind," Gladstone Police inspector Darren Somerville told The Observer in December.

Once on top of the water, it will need to be pumped out and made safe before it can be towed to Bundaberg Marina.

It will then be lifted out of the water to be inspected by police and Maritime Safety Queensland.

The bodies of two men were located inside the vessel in the days following its sinking.

They were later identified as 30-year-old fisherman Adam Hoffmann and the Dianne's skipper, 45-year-old Ben Leahy.

Four remaining crew members - Adam Bidner, Zachary Feeney, Chris Sammut and Eli Tonks - remain unaccounted for.

Fisherman Ruben McDornan was the sole survivor.

Topics:  bustard bay dianne fishing trawler gladstone region police police divers seventeen seventy trawler tragedy weather

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