Family pray for Doug lost at sea on missing trawler
DOUG Hunt was out at sea to make extra cash for his family's Christmas presents.
His simple wish took a tragic turn when the trawler on which he was working off the coast of Hervey Bay failed to return.
While an extensive air, sea and land search for the missing fishing trawler was scaled back on Monday, Doug's partner Tracey Lee, six children and other family members and friends are not giving up hope.
"He's a dedicated family man... he's really strong and safety conscious...we can't lose him," Tracey said.
Tracey Lee spoke to the Chronicle on Monday after coming out public on social media in hope of a miracle.
She asked the community to join their prayers of hope in bringing Doug and the two other men who were aboard the trawler when it went missing home to their families.
"He took the job to make some Christmas money for his family who are the most precious thing to him," Tracey said.
Hervey Bay Water Police have coordinated the search which commenced last Friday, November 25 and has involved helicopters, police and Volunteer Marine Rescue vessels, and patrols of shoreline and inlets.
The search area has encompassed thousands of square nautical miles, and at times involved multiple helicopters and vessels including as far north as Yeppoon and south to the Gold Coast.
Broadcasts across the marine radio network continue in an attempt to raise the missing trawler, as well as alerting vessels in the area.
Tracey said the last time she saw Doug was when he left the family home in Port Macquarie for Hervey Bay on November 9.
"I said I love you and we appreciate what you're doing for the family and to be safe," Tracey recalls.
Tracey contacted the company Doug worked for on November 20 wondering what was happening and she was told they were out of range so they had not made contact.
She received a call from Hervey Bay Water Police on Friday November 25 - when the search had begun.
"Doug is my soul mate and father of our three beautiful children as well as father to my additional three children who he adores," Tracey said.
"We have family, friends and church groups now praying for their safe return.
"I ask that you please prayer and contact every church member and organisation that you know to join us," she said.
The trawler departed Urangan on November 11 about 9.45pm and travelled east through Breaksea Spit before communications ceased the following morning.
There are three reported crew members, a 60 year-old experienced male skipper, a 24-year-old man and Doug, 38.
The trawler did not dock at its scheduled Sunshine Coast location on November 18, however this was not deemed out of character by those known to the crew members.
Doug is the youngest brother in a large family with some of his relatives living in New Zealand and others in Australia, all of whom his partner Tracey has advised.
Tracey and her family thanked the Hervey Bay Water Police for their ongoing support.