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‘Dug up their mates’: More details from horror mine accident

Dylan Langridge (left) and Trevor Davis died in Wednesday's accident.

Dylan Langridge (left) and Trevor Davis died in Wednesday's accident. Photos: Supplied

Family, friends and the local community are mourning the workers who died in a Queensland mining accident on Wednesday – as heart-wrenching details emerge about the effort to recover their bodies.

Dylan Langridge, 33, and Trevor Davis, 36, were working underground in MMG’s Dugald River zinc mine near Cloncurry when their ute fell part-way down a 15-metre void on Wednesday morning.

Their bodies were discovered late on Thursday, after heartbroken colleagues had dug them from the hole in which their vehicle landed.

Meanwhile, Mount Isa police inspector Erin Shawcross said his heart went out to the co-workers who had “dug up their mates”.

“I take my hat off to … the mine employees who were emotionally triggered but knew there was a job to be done and worked really hard in the trying circumstances,” he said.

Another worker was involved when the drill rig he was operating fell about 15 metres. He managed to escape with minor injuries and raise the alarm about Wednesday’s horror accident.

Australian Workers’ Union Queensland branch secretary Stacey Schinnerl said the miners’ colleagues would have been first on the scene.

“When these things occur at remote mine sites, the first response teams are actually the workers on site,” she told the ABC.

“The emergency response crew is formed from the workforce – these guys volunteer and put their own lives at risk to save the lives of their co-workers.”

Mr Langridge was a father of two young children. Their mother, Kelly Mcburnie has posted a tribute on Facebook.

“Nothing will ever stop me caring for you … the kids need their dad,” she wrote.

Another friend of both men said he had lost two ‘brothers’.

‘Some of the hardest workers that I have ever charged with and you definitely will never be forgotten,’ he said.

Elsewhere, another mine worker said she considered Mr Langridge family.

‘You taught me so much and we helped each other through a few very tough times in our lives but you always made work not so much like work and had a cheeky grin at the end of the day,’ she said.

The deadly incident was one of Queensland’s deadliest mining accidents in recent years, and will be subject to a major investigation.

The bodies of Mr Langridge and Mr Davis were retrieved Thursday afternoon by mine emergency crews.

Inspector Shawcross said they had since been removed from the mine site. They will be taken to Brisbane or Townsville for coronary proceedings before being released to the men’s families.

Resources Safety and Health Queensland will begin an investigation into the accident when the site is deemed safe to enter.

The mine will remain closed until the police investigation concludes. RSHQ will determine when it re-opens.

Bodies of mine workers found

Source: The Project

Queensland Resources Minister Scott Stewart said the accident would have a deep impact across the community and the mining industry.

“This is a tragic time in our mining history and while the industry is a very big industry in Queensland, it’s still a very close-knit family and this will affect a lot of people,” he said.

The men were employees of mining services company Barminco, a subsidiary of ASX-listed firm Perenti.

Perenti chief executive Mark Norwell said the deaths of the pair were devastating.

“Our primary focus is that of support for the families and colleagues of Trevor and Dylan and in parallel completing a comprehensive investigation,” he said in a statement.

Cloncurry Shire Council Mayor Greg Campbell said the community wanted to express its “deepest condolences to the families of Dylan and Trevor”.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this tragic time,” he told the ABC.

“The flags at the community precinct will fly at half mast in respect of Dylan and Trevor.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese extended his condolences to the two men’s families, posting on Twitter that they would be “in our hearts tonight”.

MMG chief executive Liangang Li insisted safety was the first value at the company and vowed to learn from the accident.

“We now need to come together to support everyone who has been impacted and understand the cause of this incident so that it cannot happen again,” he said.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable said the industry was deeply saddened by the loss of the two workers, adding it was committed to ensuring every employee returned home safe and healthy.

“The industry recognises that meeting this commitment requires continuous vigilance to prevent all fatalities, injuries and occupational illnesses,” she said.

-with AAP

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