Sunken trawler found as families prepare for the worst

The families of six men believed to have gone down with a fishing boat off the Queensland coast are bracing for the worst with the vessel set to be recovered.

Family members of skipper Ben Leahy, 45, and crew members Adam Hoffman, 30, Eli Tonks, 39, Adam Bidner, 33, Chris Sammut, 34, and Zach Feeney, 28, will find out on Saturday whether the men survived after the sea cucumber fishing boat went down in rough seas near the town of 1770 south of Gladstone.

Queensland Police used sonar equipment to locate the vessel about two to three nautical miles off Round Hill Headland on Friday afternoon.

Water Police remained at the scene overnight ahead of a full recovery operation that will get under way on Saturday morning.

Eli Tonks, Adam Bidner and Adam Hofman. Source: Supplied
Chris Sammut, Ben Leahy and Zach Feeney. Source: Supplied
The men were below deck when their sea cucumber trawler capsized near Middle Island. Photo: QPS

Families of the missing men on Friday chartered two vessels to join authorities in their efforts to locate the men's bodies.

Four sailors have meanwhile revealed how they came to the rescue of Mr McDornan.

Exhausted, injured and wearing only a pair of boardshorts, Mr McDornan spent hours treading water after the vessel sank to the sea floor.

He was reunited with his wife and mum in Gladstone on Thursday.

Adam Bidner’s sister Jodie posted an emotional tribute to her brother and his fishing buddies on Friday with pictures of him and Mr McDornan.

“As much as this is crushing me right now, it makes me happy at the same time to see him so happy and love what he did with his best mates,” she wrote.

The family of father-of-two Eli Tonks released a statement saying they had not given up hope of him being found.

“Eli is so full of love, compassion and emotion, and is one of the strongest, most kind-hearted people. He is a machine,” his fiancee Ana James said.

“Friends and family know he would not give up without a fight. Most of us continue to hold onto hope that he’s kicked back on one of the islands with a coconut in hand — because that’s the kind of guy he is. Fearless and capable of anything.”