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Mates' plunge to their deaths

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  • Rob McGee
    Mates plunge to their deaths By BRYAN LITTLELY and MATT WILLIAMS 02 Mar 04 South Australia THEY lived and worked alongside each other and, yesterday, Alby
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2004
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      Mates' plunge to their deaths
      By BRYAN LITTLELY and MATT WILLIAMS
      02 Mar 04
      South Australia

      THEY lived and worked alongside each other and, yesterday, Alby Henneker and Craig I'Anson died together in a horrific mining accident in the Barossa Valley.

      The Nuriootpa neighbours plunged more than 60m to their deaths in a dump truck which slewed over a cliff in Penrice quarry, near Angaston about 8am.

      A salvage crew worked into the night to free the bodies of the two men, who were crushed in the cabin of the 60-tonne truck which rested precariously about 20m from the quarry base.

      The men were dead when rescuers reached the vehicle. Efforts to free the bodies proved difficult because of the rugged quarry and landslides around the truck.

      Penrice mine manager Andrew Graetz said the men were performing a routine haul of limestone from the quarry face to the crusher. Some workers who saw the accident were being counselled.

      Three cranes – two capable of lifting 150 tonnes each – were needed in the salvage operation.

      Mr Henneker, 63, and Mr I'Anson, 27, lived opposite each other in a quiet Nuriootpa street.

      Mr Henneker was a long-time Penrice Soda Products employee, while Mr I'Anson had been a contractor at the site for about five months.

      Mr I'Anson's father Geoff also worked at the quarry, but did not see the accident.

      Their tragic deaths had "ripped the guts out of the street", Cabernet Court neighbour Geoff Marschall said.

      "When you lose a couple of people from it like this, it's going to leave a big hole. The street just won't be the same again."

      Friends and neighbours paid tribute to a "devoted family man".

      "I've known Alby all my life," Mr Marschall said.

      "Since living here, I would see him every day and he'd always give a wave. And the young lad, he'd wave and say hello which is a good testimony to a young man."

      Mr Henneker's former neighbour, Kevin Gerhardy, said he was "a happy-go-lucky guy, and everybody liked him".

      Mr Henneker was married with three adult daughters. Mr I'Anson was single.

      Country Fire Service Regional Duty Officer John Hutchins said it was unsafe to retrieve the bodies of the victims until the truck, which was upside-down, had been removed from the quarry wall.

      The last serious accident at the quarry was 13 years ago.

      Workplace Services are investigating and police will prepare a report for the coroner.


      ___________________________________________________________
      United States Mine Rescue Association
      www.usmra.com
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