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Big Bell miner, Paige Counsell remembered

Big Bell Miner Paige Counsell

Paige Counsell, the WA miner who passed away in a tragic accident at the Big Bell mine, has been remembered by colleagues and family in a moving service in Perth.

Paige was fatally injured after being struck by an underground haul truck at the Big Bell mine in Western Australia. Workers told AMSJ that Paige had been struck by the haul truck before succumbing to injuries some six hours later.

Paige was fondly remembered in a moving service during the Christmas break for her fighting spirit and strength.

Paige’s Mother, Police Officer Samatha Counsel, told the ABC’s Jarodd Lucas that “It’s just an excruciating loss”

“You don’t wish for someone else to take her place … how could you put somebody else through this misery?

Samatha Counsell, Mother of fallen Mineworker Paige Counsell

“It’s just an overwhelming loss and feeling of emptiness. I am hoping I’ll fill that back up at some point but at the moment, I’m just on autopilot, doing what has to be done, arranging what has to be arranged.

The Face of WA’s latest Mining Accident

“Nobody can believe it.”

“Paige loved Christmas, it was her favourite time of year and she would shower us all in gifts,” her mother said.

“We had no choice but to celebrate because it would have been anti-Paige to not do Christmas and obviously, we had to worry about her niece and nephew, and not make it a miserable time of year for them.

“We basically went into autopilot and did what we always do with the family at Christmas.

“We all gave her a big cheers, said a few words and let her know we’re all thinking about her, and hoped she enjoyed the day watching us from wherever on earth she is now, depending on what you believe.”

Samatha said that Paige showed a fighting spirit right until the end after she survived six hours after being struck by the plant.

“She would have a go at anything … five years old she’s riding around doing motocross, and at 20, she takes up power-lifting and breaks records for her age and weight division.

“It’s something she put her mind to and just did it.”

The death of Paige Counsell follows the death of a father of two, Michael Johnson at Saracen’s Dervish underground mine in July following his loader plummeting over an open stope and, 64-year-old Howard Prosser from Diab Engineering received fatal injuries when he was crushed at Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill mine in the Pilbara in January.

West Australia mining fatalities summary 2020

15/12/2020A 25-year old female underground operator, Paige Counsell, received fatal injuries when struck by an underground haul truck at the Big Bell mine.

The DMIRS has commenced an investigation.
13/07/2020A male operator received fatal injuries when the underground loader he was operating went over the edge of an open stope and fell approximately 25 metres. There was no evidence of a bund the top of the stope. The incident occurred on 13 July 2020.
The DMIRS has commenced an investigation.
27/01/2020A 64-year contractor received fatal crush injuries in an incident involving the telehandler he was operating at an iron ore mine

Statistics from the Western Australian Mining Industry revealed that 425 Lost Time Injuries had occurred in the sector during 2018-2019. There were also two fatal accidents in 2018-2019.

Image: Paige Counsell (Facebook)

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