TRIBUTE: Lost diver 'like a brother' to so many
A YOUNG man whose life brought hope to others, who made everyone he met feel noticed, died doing what he loved in a tragic accident which has rocked the Sunshine Coast community.
Those close to Mike Daniell, 27, said he had touched countless lives through his church involvement, his business Belong Constructions, as a mentor for young men and as a son, brother and friend.
Tributes flowed as news spread that the experienced spearfisherman had failed to resurface off Old Woman Island, Mudjimba on Saturday morning.
It is understood Mr Daniell was wearing a weight belt when he jumped off a tinny minutes before his friend was due to join him for a dive Saturday morning.
Loved ones raised the alarm when they noticed him missing. Emergency services, experienced free-divers, several lifeguards and a Christian surf group scoured the water for several hours.
Police reported by about 1pm and before their dive squad arrived, one of the free divers made the heart-wrenching discovery; Mr Daniell's body 20m deep on the ocean floor.
Devastated family and friends clung to each other as the grim news hit the shore. Police believe Mr Daniell suffered from shallow water blackout while trying to resurface.
Buderim's Goodlife Community Church lead pastor Tim Lovell said the Daniells and community were still coming to grips with the "earth-shaking" tragedy.
Pastor Lovell became emotional as he told the "Mikey" he knew was relentless in giving, and had the ability to make everyone he knew feel loved and noticed.
"So often people walk around oblivious to others and yet Mikey just saw them, and then he would go out of his way to engage them," he said.
"He used his boat, he used his passion for fishing, anything he had to better someone else, he was a unique man."
Through his Bli Bli-based company, Mr Daniell ran annual construction projects in Suva, Fiji to help those less fortunate, including building new homes for single mums and their children.
The business supported Compassion Australia, Gospel for Asia, Orphans Promise, Homes of Hope and Mr Daniell's church.
Here, he remained on the hearts and minds of many last night as close friends and family mourned, hugged and prayed together.
"The one thing we are talking about tonight is that hope is the anchor for our soul, and you never let go of hope," Pastor Lovell said ahead of last night's vigil.
"And I think that's one thing that Mikey wanted to always give people, that sense of hope, that people have value, and just never let go of that. Don't give up on hope."
With the "heaviest of hearts", Goodlife's Daniel Gettis told of a man who wholeheartedly lived his live, and brought hope and healing to many others.
TRIBUTE FROM RENEE BAZLEY
I loved this man like a brother. He graciously opened up his home to me 6 months ago, and enlarged my appreciation for BBQs, dogs, construction, and the ocean.
I warmed to his garage full of extreme sports equipment, his hastily flung washing on the line, and his Weetbix crumbs on the bench.
We both worked from home on Wednesdays. He'd be in the office, wearing his RVCA hat and hoodie, and I'd be at the dining table. He liked milky tea in a grey marble mug, and I liked making it for him.
We'd exchange anecdotes and jokes across the day. I'd tell him to take a break, and he'd tell me to not eat too many carrots. I would sing, and write poetry, and practice ballet in the kitchen, and he would definitely not do any of these activities. Ours was a friendship that was honest and fun. As brothers can, he occupied permanent space in my heart.
I loved his generosity and his loyalty, and I am richer for his kindness and his integrity. Thank you, Mike. I miss you x
TRIBUTE FROM JESS CUTLER
Mike. I can't find the words fitting enough to describe how much I value you as a mate.
As a timid 16 y/o attending youth group, I really looked up to both you and Sam. At that time, I remember asking God if I could have you both as my brothers - because you both were the epitomy of what a genuine, decent, follower of Jesus bloke looked like.
Sure enough, over that next year you helped bring me out of my shell by always starting a chat. That turned into you teaching me how to surf and skurf, having some good chats, always including me in gatherings with others - which one time meant you ditching Sam and I after a morning surf to go look at a boat 😂
That day ended up being the first time Sam and I had hung out together and now we're almost 6yrs married.
You included everyone, and we were always guaranteed to meet someone new on your boat.
You've been a faithful friend to us both, and I'll miss you and Sam challenging each other to a wrestle every time we hung out - of course both claiming to be the strongest. When Shep was born and days since you would always ask, "when are we taking him for a surf?"
You lived life to the full, and on purpose. You brought people together that wouldn't have met otherwise, and most importantly modelled Jesus so well. You've left such a legacy and your life continues to challenge us in the best of ways. I'm so thankful for the many treasured memories we have with you.
We love you Mike