The recovery of fallen miners at Paxton is in good hands

April 19, 2014


The recovery of the fallen miners at Paxton is now is good hands. Unlike many other rescue disciplines, miners look after their own. What many people outside the underground mining fraternity do not realise is that reference to “mine rescue teams” is reference to fellow workmates who have volunteered to be trained in their own time, above their normal work commitments, to be there in this time on need. They have trained and volunteered their time and services above and beyond their normal work duties as miners to provide a mine rescue service. It is these fellow miners, some from other mines, who in this instance will step up to provide the very specialised skills required to return their workmates to their loved ones. No-one is more suited to this role. Reading the recent media and press releases, this has not been conveyed. There has been much reference to other emergency services, however the task at hand could not be undertaken without the support of the mine rescue volunteers and selected mine workers to secure the scene. The most accurate accounts of this event have been conveyed by the CFMEU. The union have accurately portrayed the situation and events. The union can stand tall and be proud, as it was the United Miners Union who over 100 years ago lobbied the government and mining companies for the capability of an affective mine rescue service. Ironically it was in this very district, kilometers form Paxton Mine, that the formation of a capable mine rescue service originated in 1923.. a disaster and explosion at Bellbird Colliery which resulted in the death of 21 lives…  several of whom where miners from other mines assisting in the rescue of others. The Bellbird disaster was the turning point…. it had been preceded by several earlier mining disasters that had killed 293 people in NSW between 1887 and 1921… several of whom where rescuers who lost their lives attempting the rescue of their fellow workmates. As a result of the Bellbird incident the Mines Rescue Act 1925 was enacted. This  governed the establishment of the model that remains very much unchanged today. This requires volunteers from every mines workforce to comprise mine rescue teams who are trained, capable, and prepared to rescue their fellow workmates. A testimony to the NSW Mine Rescue ACT is that since 1925 when it was enacted, whilst there have been many lives lost in mining, there has been no lives lost attempting the rescue of others. Rest assured on this occasion, the recovery of  the 2 miners will be successful. No one will be harmed, and the 2 miners will be returned to their families and respectfully laid to rest.

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