BMA mine victim named
‘Big Al’ confirmed as casualty in Saraji Mine New Year’s Eve accident
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.