News -

Weather hampers search for missing fishermen

Low cloud and poor visibility restricted the RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crew’s attempts to find the missing crew of a fishing trawler which overturned near Middle Island north of Bundaberg on Monday night. 

The Bundaberg-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter was tasked by search and rescue authorities to resume the search today at first light, but remained grounded as a result of heavy rain and low cloud cover surrounding the Bundaberg coast.

The helicopter crew began its search yesterday, spending several hours looking for any sign of life.

They covered three different search areas yesterday and found some debris – a fridge, wetsuit, dive gear and other items believed to have belonged to the fishing vessel, the Dianne. 

In a quirk of fate, LifeFlight Chief Operating Officer, Brian Guthrie, is a school friend of the missing skipper Ben Leahy. 

Mr Guthrie said he was still hanging on to the hope the men could be found.

"Ben has been involved with boats for more than 20 years," Mr Guthrie said.

"He's very experienced in the water and I expect his crew would be exactly the same, so if anyone is going to give it their best shot for the best outcome, these guys would be it."

It's believed the vessel overturned around 7:30 on Monday night - sinking around midnight.

One of the seven men, believed to be on board the Dianne, was located around 7.30 yesterday morning by a passing boat. 

2016-17 was a record year for LifeFlight for lifesaving missions with its aeromedical crews, community helicopters and Air Ambulance jets performing a record 5,342 missions throughout Queensland and around the world.

LifeFlight is a community-based charity that relies on donations from the public and community support to the LifeFlight Foundation.

To support the LifeFlight Foundation visit:
www.lifeflightfoundation.org.au