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Qld coal worker crushed by truck was a ‘top bloke’

Luke O'Brien
Luke O'Brien (right)

A contractor who was fatally pinned by a heavy vehicle will be remembered as a good man.

Tributes recently flowed for the late Luke O’Brien who died at BHP Mitsubishi Alliance’s (BMA’s) Saraji South coal mine in Dysart, 267km south of Mackay.

O’Brien reportedly stood between his utility vehicle and a bogged B Double fuel truck in the mine fuel bay area, when the ute accidentally rolled back onto him at about 1:30pm.

The 27-year-old suffered catastrophic injuries and was transported to hospital for emergency medical treatment.

“Sadly he later passed away in the evening,” Resources Safety and Health Queensland (RSHQ) chief operating officer Rob Djukic said according to the Australian Associated Press.

“As soon as we were notified of the incident we launched an investigation, sending multiple investigators and inspectors from our serious incident investigation unit and coal inspectorate to the site. We are also working closely with BMA to find out what went wrong and prevent this from happening again.”

Queensland Police officers are assisting RSHQ and will report findings to the coroner.

The Queensland Resources Council expressed its “deepest” condolences to coworkers and loved ones.

“The industry’s thoughts are with the family dealing with an unimaginable loss, and the friends, work colleagues and first responders involved,” acting chief executive officer Judy Bertram said in a public statement.

“The resources sector is committed to workplace safety and will support all investigations into this tragic event.”

Scotty Wedemeyer revealed he would miss meeting with O’Brien at the mine site.

“Going to miss our catch-ups when we used to run into each other, whether it be randomly onsite or at camp, or even at the bar at Mojos,” the Wedemeyer Equipment Maintenance field service diesel fitter said on Facebook.

Mick Veale described his late friend as “one of the best”.

“[I] will never forget the day I met you when you were losing your marbles as to why the head would not come off the block of an engine you were stripping, then me walking over and casually finding the bolt you left in,” the Veale Industries owner said on Facebook.

“Condolences to Morgan Miles and the O’Brien family, it is truly a day no one wanted or saw coming. Thank you Luke O’Brien for the opportunity to meet an amazing person, rest easy mate.”

McCosker Gladstone Speedway also paid a special tribute to O’Brien.

“Luke raced his modified sedan at our track and was such a nice and respectful guy. His passing is a great loss for the racing community. Rest in peace Luke, you will be missed,” it said on Facebook.

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