Daily Mercury - - FRONT PAGE - TARA MIKO [email protected]­ly­mer­cury.com.au

THE fa­ther of an ex­pe­ri­enced tyre fit­ter al­legedly crushed to death at a Black­wa­ter mine says he is be­ing stonewalle­d in his pur­suit of an­swers.

Don­ald Rab­bitt, 33, was the vic­tim of an hor­rific work­place in­ci­dent at Cur­ragh Coal Mine on Sun­day. Heart­bro­ken fa­ther Robin Rab­bitt says it should never have hap­pened.

As he made funeral ar­range­ments for burial in the fam­ily plot in Goondi­windi, the el­der Mr Rab­bitt hit out at the lack of in­for­ma­tion he had re­ceived about the death of his son, who he af­fec­tion­ately called “Bubba Don Don”.

“I want to know what hap­pened to my son,” Mr Rab­bitt, 57, said. “I would hate to see some­one else go through this.”

Mr Rab­bitt claimed he had been stonewalle­d in get­ting a clear pic­ture of the cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing the in­ci­dent, which claimed his son’s life – the first mining death in 2020 and the eighth in the past 18 months.

“THEY’RE not even sure what time he was killed,” Mr Rab­bitt said.

From what he could piece to­gether he said Don­ald had been work­ing a shift alone and was chang­ing a 4.5 tonne tyre when it fell from about waist height, crush­ing him. He was found about 4.30pm.

“The union told me he could have been lay­ing there for half an hour un­der the tyre,” Mr Rab­bitt said.

“It’s com­mon knowl­edge (that) you don’t have one per­son work­ing on their own.

“I was talk­ing to the union bloke and he said they’re not sup­posed to be work­ing on their own; that there are sup­posed to be two to three peo­ple. I am so, so p---ed off my son is dead.”

Through his grief Mr Rab­bitt has vowed to get an­swers.

“Is my son dead be­cause (he was) out there fit­ting tyres on his own?” he said.

“The union, they’re try­ing to jump all over this and they said to me, ‘don’t be sur­prised if it takes two years.

“It can’t take two years.”

The Queens­land Mines In­spec­torate is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the death.

“As our in­ves­ti­ga­tion has just com­menced, we are un­able to pro­vide fur­ther in­for­ma­tion at this time,” a Mines In­spec­torate spokesman said.

Mine owner Coron­ado Global Re­sources and Don­ald’s em­ployer Thiess have de­clined to make any fur­ther com­ment be­yond of­fer­ing sym­pa­thy and condolence­s to “fam­ily, friends, work­mates and all those af­fected at this sad time”.

“Our pri­or­ity is with sup­port­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and en­sur­ing the well­be­ing of our work­force,” a Coron­ado spokesman said.

“Brief­ings, as well as coun­selling and em­ployee sup­port ser­vices, are be­ing pro­vided and of­fered to all mine work­ers.”

Op­er­a­tions re­main sus­pended while an in­ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der­taken.

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