Identity of men lost off the coast revealed
POLICE have released the identities of six men missing after their commercial fishing boat overturned in Bustard Bay near Middle Island on Monday night.
The men are 45-year- old Ben Leahy, 39-year- old Eli Tonks, 33-year- old Adam Bidner, 28-year-old Zach Feeney, 30-year- old Adam Hoffman, 34-year- old Chris Sammut and 32-year- old Ruben McDornan.
The families have expressed their appreciation for the work being done during the search for the missing men and are asking for privacy and compassion during this extremely difficult time.
SEARCH and rescue crews are praying for the best as the chance of survival for six men lost at sea dwindles.
Six vessels, including the Water Police vessel Conroy and six aircrafts are searching a 300 nautical mile area from Agnes Water to Gladstone for the six crewmen who were on board 17m vessel Dianne when it tipped near Middle Island on Monday night.
The vessel sunk by midnight, and one survivor - who clung to the hull for almost five hours - was found by passing sailors.
Gladstone Police inspector Darren Somerville said the survivor was at Agnes Water Police Station giving a statement.
"At this stage we're still looking at a search and rescue operation while we get advice from experts in relation to survivability in the conditions we have at the moment," Insp Somerville said.
Some of the families of the six crewmen are believed to be in Gladstone.
"We've liaised with the family very early on, they are upset and shocked with what has happened," he said.
"We conducted a briefing with the families here and via telephone this morning to inform them where the search is at."
Search efforts continue to be hindered by 30 knot winds and three metre swells.
Search and Rescue coordinator sergeant Jeff Barnett said they were desperate to find the crewmen as soon as possible.
Speaking to a room of media at 1pm today, Sgt Barnett said it was one of the most extensive search and rescue operations seen in this region.
The search area has increased from 100 nautical miles yesterday to 300 today spanning from the Gladstone Harbour and islands to Agnes Water.
"The water temperature does play a factor ... we're going into the third day now," Sgt Barnett said.
"We're hoping for the best case scenario but the time frame of survival, from the medical advisors, ell us towards the end of the afternoon, chances of survival are not supported.
"The best case scenario is we find six people on a life raft but it's not looking promising."