BMA mine vic­tim named

‘Big Al’ con­firmed as ca­su­alty in Saraji Mine New Year’s Eve ac­ci­dent

Central Queensland News - - NEWS - Ash­ley Pill­hofer and Mad­delin McCosker

THE iden­tity of the man who died late on New Year’s Eve while work­ing at a Bowen Basin mine site has been re­vealed.

Grace­mere man Al­lan Hous­ton, 49, was work­ing on­site at BHP Bil­li­ton’s (BMA) Saraji Open Cut Coal Mine south­west of Mackay.

Friends and fam­ily of Mr Hous­ton, known by some as ‘Big Al’, said he was re­mem­bered as a “great man” who was re­spected and cher­ished by those who knew him.

Mem­bers of the Cen­tral Queens­land com­mu­nity shared their re­spects and wished Mr Hous­ton’s fam­ily well, af­ter they were told about his death on Tues­day af­ter­noon.

Ru­mours about how Mr Hous­ton died have cir­cu­lated as of­fi­cials re­main silent about what led to his tragic death.

As in­ves­ti­ga­tions con­tinue, po­lice, the De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources, Mines and En­ergy, and the CFMEU have closed ranks, keep­ing the wider com­mu­nity in the dark.

But de­spite the freeze on fur­ther in­for­ma­tion, word made its way from Saraji and other Queens­land mine sites, where work­ers were briefed about the in­ci­dent.

Most re­ports leaked from mine sites suggested Mr Hous­ton died while op­er­at­ing a dozer.

It is be­lieved the ac­ci­dent oc­curred at around 10pm, when the dozer went over the edge of a bench (slope).

Late on Wednes­day af­ter­noon, BMA con­firmed this.

The dozer is thought to have rolled a num­ber of times be­fore com­ing to rest in a body of wa­ter.

Of­fi­cial groups have re­fused to con­firm or deny these re­ports. Me­dia out­lets re­ported the site ex­pe­ri­enced “com­mu­ni­ca­tion is­sues” be­fore the in­ci­dent, but again, there is no of­fi­cial con­fir­ma­tion of this.

A state­ment from BMA said their im­me­di­ate fo­cus was to “sup­port Al­lan’s fam­ily and friends as well as our peo­ple that may have been af­fected by this in­ci­dent”.

At the time of go­ing to print, op­er­a­tions at Saraji Mine re­mained sus­pended un­til fur­ther no­tice.

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