Six missing in rough seas as trawler capsizes off Queensland town

18 October, 2017, 01:45 | Author: Sherman Richardson
  • RACQ Life Flight Rescue helicopter chief operating officer Brian Guthrie

One of the people aiding the helicopter search for the men is RACQ LifeFlight chief operations officer Brian Guthrie, who went to school with missing skipper Ben Leahy.

It was believed the fishing trawler overturned about 7:30pm and sank about midnight near Middle Island.

Skipper Ben Leahy is missing after a trawler accident off the Queensland coast near 1770.

He was saved when a couple on a passing vessel heard his screams for help.

The men, mostly from the Cairns area, were below deck when their sea cucumber trawler capsized near Middle Island, off 1770.

Police have urged boat users in the area to remain on the lookout for the missing men.

But another six, including skipper Ben Leahy and Cairns men Adam Bidner and Eli Tonks, believed to have been trapped below the deck, were still missing nearly 36 hours later.

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Efforts to find the missing men alive has been hampered by risky strong winds and torrential rain which some rescue crafts to return to shore before the search was suspended late in the afternoon.

He said no distress signal was activated by the men or received from the vessel.

With the weather tipped to worsen over the next 24 hours, Sgt Barnett said the likelihood of finding anyone else alive was low.

Bad weather is hampering the air and water search.

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting six-hourly rainfall totals of up to 180mm on Tuesday, with possible thunderstorms.

"We are still holding out a lot of hope".

"We can't endanger our agency staff, of course, in terms of the conditions, but we're doing everything we possibly can to find those who are missing", he said.

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