MINE COLLAPSES ON
This is my
dedication Page to
Todd Russell and
Brant Webb for their
& RIP Larry Knight
Tuesday, 26 May 2020 12:30:56 PM
9.23pm Tuesday 25 th April
On Anzac Day a seismic earth tremor measuring 2.1
on the Richter scale triggers a rock fall at the
Beaconsfield gold mine about 20km north-west of Launceston in Tasmania, Australia. Trapping 17
miners underground, fourteen miners reach a safety chamber, but Todd Russell,
aged in his 30s, Brant Webb, aged in his 40s, and
Larry Knight, 44, are trapped 925m underground.
4.45pm Wednesday April 26th
Grave fears are held for the three miners at the
Beaconsfield Gold Mine.
A remote controlled robot equipped with two cameras is
now made available and ready to go down the mine to
find the three men, not yet accounted for. "The situation is still very dangerous to the point where
we are unable to access the immediate area,"
manager Matthew Gill,
Beaconsfield Gold Mine
said. The unions are asking whether enough reinforcing was
done after a series of mini-quakes in
9.15pm Wednesday April 26th
The remote-controlled earth-moving loader equipped
with cameras is used to begin excavating the rock
fall. Tasmanian Resources Minister Bryan Green said a full
investigation into the tragedy would be launched. Todd Russell's father, Noel, said: "My son is one of
the boys trapped down there, so I don't want to say
too much at the moment." When asked how the family was coping with situation,
he said "very tough".
7.00 am Thursday April 27
The mayor of West Tamar, said the council was doing
all it could to organise support for the miners'
families. "It's a devastating time in the local community,". "We all live on hope, but it's a bad rock fall.
Thankfully the other miners who were underground at
the time have come to the surface safely.
"We have to brace ourselves as a community and pull
7.22 am Thursday April 27th
The robotic digger reaches the area where the miners
were last seen. The body of Larry Knight is found
amongst the rubble
of the vehicle which he had been operating
and 13 hours later it is brought to the surface. Beaconsfield Gold Mine manager Matthew Gill appeared
visibly distressed as he read a prepared statement:
"The fate of the other two trapped miners is not
known, but obviously grave fears are held." Fellow miner Chris Mackay, a friend of the three,
said the community was in shock. "It's shattering news for the families and the
people who work there, and for myself, I'm still
pretty well in shock now,". Later that day six-man crews working in unstable
conditions start digging a 37m horizontal tunnel to
reach the miners.
1.50am Thursday April 27th
Loader removes an unmanned Nissan Patrol which was
blocking access. Mr. Knight's body is recovered and removed from the
Families had waited about 14 hours before they were
informed of the identity of the body, which was
located in the mine at 7.22am yesterday.
2.30am Thursday April 27th
Loader starts removing the first of two known rock
Search continues as rescuers dig a horizontal tunnel
to bypass the unsafe area where the rock falls
occurred. Area is still unstable with seismic
Sunday 30th April
AT LAST! 5.45 pm the men are captured on thermal-imaging
cameras huddled in the collapsed shaft and the
effort to rescue them is redoubled.
The miners are believed to have drunk rancid water
dripping down the walls of the collapsed gold mine. They beg rescuers for a cooked breakfast of bacon
and eggs, while a nutrition expert recommended plain
bread and water. The cage 1.5mx1.2m cherry picker
is in size and the men were using it to work from to
stabilise the walls from the previous tremor in
October 2005. Large boulders have trapped them inside the cage.
No room to stand for these tall men.
Monday 1st May
Rescuers drilled a narrow hole through 12 metres of
rock through which a 100 millimetre PVC pipe was
inserted and water, biscuits, tablets and protein
drinks passed to the two miners, their first food in
six days. Rescue teams were tonight expected to resume digging
a wider access tunnel through possibly unstable
rock, culminating in a delicate drilling operation
when they finally get close to the trapped men. But, fearful of further rock falls, rescuers have
abandoned blast drilling and will instead bore their
way through the rock.
Tuesday 2nd May
special raise borer machine was brought from the
western Tasmanian mining town of Rosebery and
assembled to drill a rescue tunnel. This machine
turned the hard rock into dust. Drilling could
not start until the following day as preparations
were detailed and complicated. Despite the delays the miners were reported to be
'in good health.'
After the initial jubilation at finding them alive,
it is made very rescue to pull them to safety will
be very dangerous and time-consuming for all the
helpers. And the frustration begins to take its
Wednesday 3rd May
cement platform to anchor the specialised drilling
equipment was being finished.
Workers begin drilling a pilot hole for
the one metre diameter rescue tunnel. Enabling
the rescuers to get an access pipethrough to
them and the miners were given food, water,
nutritional drinks, vitamins, dry clothes, space
blankets, glow sticks, magazines and iPods - all
passed through a 90mm PVC pipe. "They remain in good health and have now received
iPods so they can listen to their favourite music." One of the men had asked for country rock,
authorities said. A
digital camera has also been passed to the men so
they can show rescuers and medical staff their
surroundings and what is happening to them.
Thursday 4th May
The drilling continued, with a pilot hole being
bored to guide the larger raise borer along the
route of the rescue tunnel. The men enjoyed their first solid food in a week:
egg sandwiches. Todd Russell and Brant Webb had told rescuers
they wanted to walk when they reached the surface.
They also received
yoghurt on Thursday, and requested chicken sandwiches
for dinner. Their sense of humour always helping through.
These tough Aussie larkins, must be made of gold.
Foo Fighters singer Dave
Grohl sent a fax to the men after he learns that they
asked for his music to be sent down on mp3 players. The
mission to rescue
to get Brandt and Todd is progressing tediously
and slow. The first metres of rock are described as
being as very, very difficult and tough.
raise borer has now completed its part of the operation.
It will be removed and workers will attempt to finish
the tunnel using hand tools including diamond blade
Workers encounter rock 'five times harder than concrete'
as they try to finish the tunnel under the trapped men.
They use low-grade explosives, but progress is extremely
at night, a test probe is sent through the last metre of
rock separating the men from their rescuers and freedom.
The men say they can see the probe, and workers begin
the final push. The end is near for the operation. We
are now led to believe they will be finally out sometime
rescuers/ miners used a hydraulic rock
splitter, and finally break through to the two entombed
see your light," screamed a rescue worker as he broke
through the earth separating them from freedom. Mr.
Russell and Mr. Webb shouted back: "I can see your light
were brought to a crib at the 375-metre mark, where they
being greeted, showered, medically checked and ready to
face daylight at last and finally reaching the surface
at just on sunrise at 6am.
After 14 days trapped one kilometre underground,
Todd Russell and Brant Webb walked out defiantly
with their arms raised, walking unassisted.
Every day since
we heard that this terrible disaster unfolded before our
eyes were being given updates on what was happening. On Sunday evening of the 30th
April thermal images came from below of the remaining
two miners that they were alive. I remember hearing it
and running around the house for joy.
prayed for their safe return and sat glued to TV and
their radios for the latest news on the rescue. Many
media releases came and went and days went by and still
they were not out, whilst we just sat back amazed how
they were still coping and alive. The mission had to de
done with precise movement so and not to disturb the
rock that was silting on their cage. No m ore lives
could be risked unnecessarily so.
from around the globe to talk to rescuers, paramedics,
police, their families, fireman, explosive experts,
geologists, the locals etc.
read that it was Saint of day St. Pachomius was born
about 292 …….led a life of extreme austerity and total
dedication to God; combining manual labor with unceasing
prayer both day and night…
labour was being done and we were praying night and day.
The nation certainly was praying.
their fists proudly into the air to the roar of the
crowd that had been patiently waiting for them. As so
many estimated arrivals had come and gone. Both men were
quick to find their immediate family members to hug. Not
forgetting to move their safe tags, to prove they were
out of the mine, perhaps forever.
were just so amazed at the physical condition, what an
incredible “Great Escape” These two tough Aussie
larrikins had achieved what was thought to be
impossible. They were taken to hospital in an ambulance
for health clearance.
beaded faces and big beautiful beaming smiles giving the
thumbs sign up just showed the world what gutsy Aussie
men they are.
the rock movements on 25th April had killed
their mate Larry Knight. Larry was
married to Jackie and had three children had swapped
places with one of the other miners that fateful day;
this decision was one that had killed him. 14 other men
made it to safety after the tremor.
The families had
sent items such as "special something, from their
children, just a reminder and to keep the spirits up,
just to let them know that everyone's waiting them above
ground and not to give up.
Brant Webb had
spent the first hours after the Beaconsfield mine
collapse trying to save the life of his miner mate Todd
Russell who was choking and vomiting under the pressure
from heavy rubble, and with their long hours of waiting
got some plans of their own to go with.
funeral was held back several times hoping that the
remaining two got out. However finally it had to be held
and it was the day they were brought to the surface.