Wood­chip­per death ‘trau­matic’

Sunshine Coast Daily - - NEWS -

BRUCE Saun­ders was the 54-year-old man killed when he fell into a wood­chip­per at a Goom­boo­rian prop­erty, near Gympie, on Sun­day evening.

Mr Saun­ders from Bund­aberg died in­stantly when be­came trapped in the ma­chine while mulching branches.

Two friends, who were work­ing along­side the 54-year-old, des­per­ately tried to free him as he was pulled into the ma­chine.

Gympie po­lice Act­ing In­spec­tor Paul Al­gie said the cir­cum­stances were hor­rific, but the in­ci­dent was not be­ing treated as sus­pi­cious.

The scene was one of the most har­row­ing he had come across in 16 years of polic­ing.

“I went out there this morn­ing to speak to of­fi­cers from Bris­bane and I’d have to say it’s one of the worst in­ci­dent scenes I’ve ever seen,” Act Insp Al­gie said.

“There was noth­ing that could be done to save this gen­tle­man.”

The three men had been us­ing a hired wood­chip­per with a 15-inch blade, for the third week­end in a row, to help clear a woman’s drive­way when the hor­ren­dous event un­folded at 7.40pm.

Act Insp Al­gie said po­lice and emer­gency work­ers who re­sponded to the emer­gency call were con­fronted with a very trau­matic scene.

“(They were) ob­vi­ously deal­ing with the dis­tressed peo­ple that were there, but also try­ing to process what they un­cov­ered there around the tree shred­der,” he said.

They would be of­fered sup­port ser­vices, Act Insp Al­gie said, while po­lice work with foren­sic crash po­lice and Work­place Safety Queens­land.

The ma­chine has been im­pounded by po­lice and sub­ject to a me­chan­i­cal in­spec­tion, with re­sults from spe­cial­ist en­gi­neers not ex­pected for at least a week.

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