The sole survivor of a trawler that capsized off the Queensland coast has opened up publicly for the first time, posting an emotional tribute to his six lost crewmates on social media.
In October, the six men were lost at sea after the sea cucumber fishing boat Dianne sank in heavy seas off the town of Seventeen Seventy.
Ruben McDornan was the only person to be found alive.
The bodies of crewmates Adam Hoffman and Ben Leahy were found in the sunken boat by divers about two to three nautical miles off Round Hill Headland, near Seventeen Seventy, after days of searching in dangerous seas.
Four other crewmen — Adam Bidner, Zachary Feeney, Chris Sammut and Eli Tonks — have not been found.
In the heart-wrenching Facebook post, Mr McDornan, an experienced diver, said it was the first time he felt he could speak publicly about the tragedy.
"I can't even find the words … my heart has been broken," he wrote.
"But like my great brothers have shown me, your heart is just a muscle, and it needs to be torn and broken down to grow — this is life … This is what I live for, now and always!"
Mr McDornan paid his "deepest respect and condolences to the family".
"The family's [sic] of my brothers are now my family," he wrote.
"Your loss is unimaginable and you are all always in my thoughts.
"My brothers have made me the man I am today and are making me the man I am tomorrow.
"I feel the word 'thank you' is not enough to express my gratitude to every single person who has helped myself and all of our families along this horrible journey."
Mr McDornan and his wife Sammy attended a memorial service for the lost crew in Cairns earlier this month, helping to light candles in their honour.
It was the mates' second crew skipper Adam Kelly who spoke that day, with an emotional Mr McDornan at his side and mateship the word of the day.
Mr Kelly was not on the fateful trip and said he was thankful and privileged to have spent time with his mates.
Now, through social media, Mr McDornan shared his most intimate feelings about his loss and grief, thanking his rescuers and his wife.
"To my beautiful wife Sammy, my absolute rock, you are the reason I am here today, your nagging voice was always in my head yelling at me to keep going and not give up," he wrote.
" I feel so lucky to have you and have what we share together, I feel a fire lit under me from my brothers and I can't wait to see where our life will take us.
"My heart might be broken at this time but it is big enough to hold all my brothers forever and always! SLUGLIFE FORVER [sic]."