Sole survivor of Queensland trawler tragedy breaks his silence on Facebook

THE sole survivor of Queensland’s fishing trawler tragedy which claimed the lives of six of his mates has broken his silence on social media.

Ruben McDornan lost six of his ‘brothers’ when their fishing vessel FV Dianne capsized off the coast of Central Queensland on October 16.

Mr McDornan spent hours clinging to the hull of the vessel while his mates, skipper Ben Leahy and crewmen Adam Hoffman, Chris Sammut, Zachary Feenery, Eli Tonks and Adam Bidner were trapped in the flooded cabin.


Miraculously, Mr McDornan was rescued by a passing boat before his vessel sank to the bottom of the ocean.

The bodies of Mr Leahy and Mr Hoffman were later recovered from the wreckage, but Mr Sammut, Mr Feenery, Mr Tonks and Mr Bidner remain missing.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, almost a month after the awful accident, Mr McDornan said it was the first time he felt he could publicly speak about his ordeal.

“So this is the first time that I’ve felt like I can publicly speak about what had happened, and I can’t even find the words.. my heart has been broken.

But like my great brothers have shown me your heart is just a muscle, and it needs to be torn and broken down to grow. This is life.. This is what I live for, now and always!

The family’s of my brothers are now my family.

My deepest respect and condolences to the family. Your loss is unimaginable and you are all always in my thoughts. My brothers have made me the man I am today and are making me the man I am tomorrow.

I feel the word ‘thank you’ is not enough to express my gratitude to every single person who has helped myself and all of our families along this horrible journey.

From my rescuers, Mal & Lyn, Pastor Dan, Josie, Nikki, VMS Round Hill, the entire community in Agnus Waters and 1770, the crew of the search and rescue Helicopter who brought me back to Gladstone to my wife and Mum, the entire Gladstone police force, Jeff & his team, Ron, Darren, Tony, Megan, you are all legends and went above and beyond to help and support not just me but all of the families, and Jane, you are part of our family now, what you did for us was amazing!

Thank you to every person, crew, boat, plane and the general public who helped search for the boat and our boys, your efforts have been incredible.

To my friends and extended family spread far and wide, thank you for your messages, calls, and wishes of love, hope, support and courage, we are so grateful.

To my brother, Adam you have and continue to be a pillar of strength to us all, we don’t know what we would do without you, I have so much love and respect for you and will always look up to you as my leader.

Thanks to Jenny & Bob for keeping our house, puppies and lives in Cairns going while we were away.

To my amazing Mum aka Mardi McDornan and Colin , you guys go above and beyond, thanks for being there in all the hard times, I couldn’t do it without you!

To my beautiful wife Sammy, my absolute rock, you are the reason I am here today, your nagging voice was always in my head yelling at me to keep going and not give up, I feel so lucky to have you and have what we share together, I feel a fire lit under me from my brothers and I can’t wait to see where our life will take us.

My heart might be broken at this time but it is big enough to hold all my brothers forever and always! SLUGLIFE FORVER” – Ruben McDornan