Lachlan B

       Beaconsfield Mine Collapse

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On the 25th of April at 9:26PM, an earthquake occurred that measured 2.2 on the richtor scale triggering a rock collapse in the Beaconsfield mine. 17 people were down the mine at the time and 14 people escaped. The three left were Larry Knight, Brant Webb and Todd Russell. Larry Knight died in the initial rock fall and Russel and Webb were stuck down the mine for two weeks! This made news all over the world and was a historic moment for Australia.

After 5 days they were found alive using a remote controlled device. They were stuck in a cage. The cage was partially filled with rock and the men were partially buried under some rubble. Webb was knocked unconscious for a short time and Russell’s lower body was completely buried. They were able to free themselves and each other from the fallen rock by cutting through their clothes and boots which were stuck in the rocks with a Stanley knife.

They survived by drinking ground water which they collected in their helmets from the water seeping through the rocks above. Webb had a muesli bar with him. Webb and Russell split it in half and initially agreed to eat it after 24 hours but they pushed until they had to eat some and ate it on the 29th of April. They ate small bits of the bar at a time to make it last as long as possible but a big bit of Russell’s bar fell out of his pocket.

At 5:45 on the 30th of April one rescuer found a direct route to the trapped miners and was able to get close enough to shake Russell’s hand. However when the rescuers told them how they could rescue them through this route the miners thought this route was unsafe because to do this they would have to cut through the wire in the side of the cage, which was under considerable pressure from the rock. Rescuers immediately halted blasting in the access tunnel and instead drilled a smaller hole through approximately 14.5 metres of rock. Webb and Russell directed the work by listening to the sound of the drilling and judging the direction. A PVC pipe was used to line the hole, which was used to deliver fresh water, food and communications to the men.

At 7:00 AM on Saturday the 6th of May the raise borer had drilled about 11 metres of the 14.5 metre recue tunnel. The mine decided on the shortened route late Friday night. The major drilling operation was completed by 6:00PM on Saturday with only a few metres remaining to reach the trapped miners. Several hours work dismantling and removing the boring machine from the escape tunnel before the final phase of the rescue commenced. At about 9:30 PM a probe passed through the rock below where the miners were located, which indicated there was only a metre between them. After 14 nights at 4:27 AM, Glenn Burns, Dannovan Lightfoot and Koyce Gill finally reached the men. Brant Webb was freed at 4:47 AM on the 9th of May, followed by Todd Russell at 4:54. At 5:58 AM both men walked out of the lift gate, punching their fists in the air.

 Russell had an injured knee, and a damaged vertebra which put pressure on his sciatic nerve and Webb had injuries to his knees, several vertebra and his neck. It was very lucky that they came out alive but we have to remember the death of Larry Knight. After this incident mining companies should be remembering the safety of their workers a lot more than they should be at the moment.                 
        

Todd Russell and Brant Webb emerge (By Flygrrl)

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One Response

  1. cool very cool indeed that has alot of info and you have put alot of hard work into it.

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