The sole survivor of a fishing trawler tragedy that killed six of his crewmates off the Queensland coast has relived his escape from the upturned vessel.
Ruben McDornan fought his way out of FV Dianne after it rolled and sank in wild seas off the town of 1770 on October 16, 2017.
At an inquest into the six deaths in Gladstone, Mr McDornan says as the Dianne began to heal over about 7.30pm he thought a rogue wave had hit the 18-metre sea cucumber trawler.
"It was steady roll ... I jumped up initially, by this time it was onto its side. I jumped straight off my bed and up the ladder and into the wheelhouse," he said.
"By the time I got to the wheelhouse the boat was was pretty much upside down ... so by the time I stood up on the roof, the ceiling I should say of the wheelhouse, the boat was upside down completely."
Skipper Ben Leahy, who had been at the helm, fell on him, he said.
As water flooded in, Mr McDornan forced his way out of a small gap in the wheelhouse door and swam through debris on the back deck to the surface.
"It was completely black. I don't even know if I had my eyes open," he said.
The bodies of Eli Tonks, 39, Adam Bidner, 33, Zach Feeney, 28, and Chris Sammut, 34, have never been found.
Police divers found the bodies of Adam Hoffman, 30, and Mr Leahy, 45, trapped inside the sunken hull.
As Mr McDornan clung to the upturned hull he could hear his trapped mates screams inside the boat.
"It was quite broken and faint," he said.
"I responded mainly on 'can you get to the window, can you get to the door and can you get to the EPIRB', and I repeated this for probably hours."
The men were calling from inside a cabin where six had been lying in their bunks when the vessel rolled.
Counsel assisting the coroner John Aberdeen told the court it took only "a matter of seconds" for the Dianne to capsize, but hours for it sink.
As the vessel finally slipped stern first below the surface about 11pm, Mr McDornan caught sight of the wheelhouse.
"I saw a torch floating, it was still on," he said.
He spent the night treading water in a two-to-three metre swell until a passing yacht saved him the following morning.
Its crew had heard his yells for help.
Outside court, Mr McDornan told reporters it had been difficult coming to the inquest but he and the families of his dead mates hoped it would prevent further tragedies.
"We are still grieving - myself, the families and lot of my mates ... We want something amazing to come out of this tragedy," he said.
The Dianne's crew were a "band of brothers", he said.
The inquest continues.
Australian Associated Press