Spearfisherman dies in diving tragedy off Sunshine Coast


THE Sunshine Coast is mourning the loss of a big-hearted fisherman and builder after a diving trip off Mudjimba Island turned to tragedy earlier on Saturday.

Mike Daniell was spearfishing with a mate on Saturday morning when he failed to surface.

A major air and sea search was mounted but tragically Mr Daniell's body was found on the ocean floor, about 20 metres down.

"Unfortunately at about 1pm today the missing person was located on the ocean floor and recovered from there,'' Murray Lyons from the Sunshine Coast Water Police told Nine News.

News reports said Mr Daniell, 27, had dived off a tinnie with a weight belt on.

Police confirmed it was loved one, involved in the search, who made the heartbreaking discovery.

An investigation into the cause of Mr Daniell's death is underway, but it is believed he may have blacked out while trying to resurface.

It is understood Mr Daniell was an experienced diver, having been on many spearfishing trips.

Friends and family sobbed and hugged each other on the beach as the grim news came to hand.

Well loved: Mike Daniell.
Well loved: Mike Daniell.

Mr Daniell was well known and loved in the Sunshine Coast church community. His extended family were gathered together on Saturday night but too distraught to speak.

The tragedy had come just after a beautiful family wedding, which Mr Daniell had attended.

Mr Daniell was being remembered as someone with a passion for fishing, surfing, building and helping others.

He founded Bli Bli firm Belong Constructions and was well known for supporting a range of causes, including running construction projects in Suva, Fiji, each year.

Mike Daniell was a keen surfer.
Mike Daniell was a keen surfer.

His business website listed support for Compassion Australia, Gospel for Asia, Orphans Promise, Homes of Hope as well as the Buderim-based church Goodlife Community Centre, where he was a member.

"Mike runs construction projects in Suva, Fiji each year, where his team invest into those less fortunate,'' the Belong Constructions site said.

Projects included building a number of new homes for single mums and their children to give them and their family a fresh start in life.

Sunshine Coast fisherman, surfer and big hearted builder Mike Daniell.
Sunshine Coast fisherman, surfer and big hearted builder Mike Daniell.

The firm had also built accommodationto house leaders, allowing them to learn and take a human development program back into their third world countries.

Mr Daniell's working career began as apprentice carpenter. After completing his apprenticeship he subcontracted for a number of years then decided it was time to offer to start his own building firm.

"He has always been in demand as his passion is evident in his work."

A Surf Life Saving Queensland spokeswoman said several lifeguards assisted emergency services in the search for the missing diver.

She said all lifeguards involved in the search have been offered counselling services.

Police expressed their condolences to the family. A report will be prepared for the Coroner.

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