TRAGIC LOSS: Bruce Doman, 52, with fox terrier Mitzy.
TRAGIC LOSS: Bruce Doman, 52, with fox terrier Mitzy.

Fishing mate mourns a great bloke

FISHERMAN Bruce Doman died doing what he loved, with his best mate Mitzy, a 13-year-old fox terrier, by his side.

Yesterday tributes flowed for a "happy-go-lucky bloke'' who just loved the water and everything to do with it.

Mr Doman's body was found washed ashore on mangrove-clad Balaclava Island at the mouth of the Fitzroy River on Sunday afternoon, following an intense land and sea search.

Yesterday a mate of the 52-year-old Rockhampton resident and casual delivery driver, said he had been due to start a full-time position.

"His life had just turned around for the better and then this happened,'' said Russell Arnold.

Mr Doman, of Rockhampton, was aboard his newly restored nine-metre wooden boat with an unnamed 49-year-old companion when it capsized off the leads (markers indicating channels) at Balaclava Island about 9pm on Friday.

The surviving man, who lost contact with Mr Doman about 15 minutes after the accident, was rescued from the island on Sunday morning by a passing boat after spending more than 24 hours in the mangroves.

Neither Mitzy nor the boat, the Moonshadow, have been found. Yesterday Mr Arnold, an electrician, said he first met Mr Doman several years ago.

Mr Doman had been working as a labourer at the time.

"He was a friendly sort of a character and we found out that we shared a few interests,'' Mr Arnold said.

"He was the sort of bloke who'd do anything to help you out. He'd do you a good turn before he'd do you a bad turn.''

Mr Arnold said Mr Doman, who had been living in Rockhampton since about the late '80s, had found the Moonshadow floating down the river in a dilapidated state about seven years ago.

"He completely repaired and rebuilt it. He used to sleep on it in the river as he worked on it.

"He'd been testing it in the river for about the last four months. I'd been out on it a couple of times and it was sturdy, it surprised me actually.''

Mr Doman, who was originally from Adelaide, lived for boating, fishing and crabbing. He was experienced on the water, having had trips to Sea Hill and The Narrows.

"His fox terrier was always by his side. He was a single bloke and it was part of the family,'' Mr Arnold said. Mr Doman was reportedly not in the best of health, having recently been laid up with a recurring leg infection.

He had suffered polio as a child which left him with little use of his right arm.

"That would have made it very difficult for him to swim,'' Mr Arnold said. "The boat was just about his life. To lose it like that would have devastated him.''

Family of Mr Doman are expected to arrive from Adelaide over the next couple of days to make funeral arrangements.



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