Friends and family of two miners who died after falling into a cavernous hole 125m underground at a major zinc mine in far northwestern Queensland.
Dylan Langridge and Trevor Davis died after they became trapped when their vehicle plummeted 15m down previously backfilled stope – a hole used to extract ore – at the MMG Dugald River mine near Cloncurry on Wednesday morning.
Rescuers worked throughout the night using specialist technology, including drones, void scanning technology and video imagery to try to locate them.
But late on Thursday it was confirmed Mr Davis and Mr Langridge had been fatally injured in the accident.
The news has rocked friends, family and colleagues of the two miners, who had hoped for more than 30 hours for a miracle.
“I’ve worked with some great people over my life working underground but to lose two close friends is completely upsetting,” Chris McDermott wrote on social media.
“I love my underground brothers forever. (You were) some of the hardest workers I have ever charged with and you definitely will never be forgotten.”
Mr Langridge’s cousin Brendan Walsh took to social media to remember the adventures the pair enjoyed together.
“ It was a wild ride growing up with ya (sic) cuz (sic),” Mr Walsh wrote.
“Late nights on the jetty. Swimming races across the river. Sinking boats. House boat trips camping trips the massive fires and the list goes on.
“Miss ya (sic) fishing stories already. Love you cuz (sic) rest easy.”
A friend of Mr Davis, Megan Weir wrote on social media about the pain she’s felt since hearing the news of his death.
“I have stared at your photo and I have read the words over and over again but this still doesn’t feel real,” she wrote.
“Completely lost for words and heart broken. Rest in peace Trevor Davis and Dylan.
“Hug your miners tight today and before every shift as you never know when they might not tag off again.”
They were both employed as charge up operators by contractor Barminco, a subsidiary of Perenti, at the MMG Ltd Dugald River zinc mine.
Mr Langridge, 33, joined Barminco in March 2020 as a truck operator at Savannah before joining the service crew at Dugald River later that year.
Mr Davis, 36, joined Barminco in August 2020 before transferring to Dugald River in November 2021.
Their vehicle and bodies have been retrieved from the mine and a full investigation is under way into how the accident happened.
Katie Martin-Morse said the pair’s deaths was “the outcome we had all been dreading”.
“Words cannot describe the heartache,” she wrote in a heartfelt online post.
“We all go to work to come home safe. We know the risk of our jobs but never expect it to happen to us or our workmates.
“My heart aches knowing the pain my fellow workmates are feeling, the loved ones that have to mourn and go on without these men in their lives.
“No one deserves this, we all deserve to go home safe back to our families.
“RIP may you always be remembered and never forgotten.
“To all my friends, please look out for each other, be there for each other and please keep yourself safe.”
“The safety of our employees is an absolute priority for Perenti, as it is for the industry more broadly. I am devastated that the families and friends of our two workmates have lost their loved ones,” chief executive of parent company Perenti said on Thursday.
“This outcome is simply not acceptable.
“In collaboration with MMG and the relevant authorities in Queensland, we will work to understand the circumstances behind this tragic incident and what additional measures need to be put in place to prevent this type of incident happening again.”
The mine is one of the world’s highest-grade known zinc deposits and is expected to have a life of more than 20 years, producing an average of 1.7 million tonnes of ore per annum.
Dugald River ore is mined underground using diamond drilling techniques.
It started operations in 2017.
Barminco is one of the world’s largest hard rock underground mining services companies, with operations in Australia, Africa and North America, its website says.
Story Credit: news.com.au