The grieving former colleagues, friends and family members of a deceased coal miner are appealing to anyone who can help donate enough to hold a funeral service.
Former coworkers of the late Golding Contractors mine operator Jack Gerdes have set up a fundraising campaign. The “Saying Goodbye to Jack” appeal hopes to raise $20,000 for the Gerdes family to give Jack, 27, a proper farewell.
“Taken far too young,” his former colleagues said on GoFundme. “Please help … it is time for us to come together to help his family get through this devastatingly sad time.”
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Deadly night shift
Gerdes passed away early on July 7 while working the night shift at the Baralaba Coal Company’s Baralaba North Coal Mine, 146km southwest of Rockhampton.
The experienced mining operator was at an excavator in the open mining pit about 1.30am to start waste mining activities. His body was discovered on the excavator stairs with injuries to his head, face and limbs after failing to respond to a truck that arrived for loading, Golding said in a statement obtained by the Australian Associated Press (AAP).
Pinned by machinery
AAP understands Gerdes became caught between the excavator and stair safety rails. The circumstances leading up to his death are still being investigated with the mine site widely expected to remain shut down until at least July 10.
“Jack was one of the good ones, always up for a laugh or a chat,” Gerdes’ former colleagues said. “He touched so many people with his loyalty, compassion and dry sense of humor; he always had a smile and will be missed greatly.”
The campaign has already raised more than $2500 and all proceeds are promised to go to the family to help with funeral expenses and the grieving process.
Six mining deaths so far in 2019
Gerdes’ death is Queensland’s sixth mining fatality in the past year. Four of the fatalities involved coal workers, prompting State Mines Minister Anthony Lynham to expand a review, led by forensic structural engineer Sean Brady, into fatal coal mine incidents to include mineral mine and quarry incidents since the year 2000.
The review is expected to end before Christmas.