A third coal mine worker in Queensland’s Issac region has been killed after a spate of workplace accidents over the past six months.
Excavator operator David Routledge, 56, from South Mackay, died after a wall collapsed on him while operating a digger at the Middlemount Coal Mine on Wednesday afternoon.
Nine News reported a marathon rescue effort to get to Mr Routledge lasted 12 hours but he was pronounced dead at the mine.
Issac region mayor Anne Baker said it was the third loss of life in the region since January following other fatal mine accidents at the Saraji Mine and the Moranbah North Mine.
“As a coal-producing region whose communities and history is closely tied to the workforces of our local mines, this tragedy reaches deep into the hearts of all our residents,” she said on Thursday.
“It is a reminder of the inherent dangers our local workers face every day working in the resources sector.”
Operations have been suspended at the mine.
Queensland Mines Minister Anthony Lynham said every worker deserved to come home safe. There will be a thorough investigation by the Mines Inspectorate, he added.
Middlemount Coal CEO Gerrie Jordaan issued a statement describing Mr Routledge’s death as a “devastating loss”.
Mr Jordaan said a full investigation was now underway and the coal mine would offer its “full cooperation”.
— Elisabeth Moss (@Elisabeth_Moss7) June 26, 2019
Publisher Industry Queensland wrote on its website Mr Routledge was a family man and an experienced operator who had worked at the mine for three years.
“We are devastated a mineworker was killed in a shocking incident at Middlemount coal mine yesterday afternoon, where a high wall collapsed on to an excavator with the worker inside,” CFMEU Mining and Energy Queensland president Stephen Smyth said.
“On behalf of the whole union, we extend our sincere condolences to the worker’s family, friends and co-workers.”