One dead, two in hospital after crane hits powerlines in Far North Queensland workplace accident
A 49-year-old Gordonvale man has died and two men are in hospital after a crane came into contact with powerlines at a workplace in Far North Queensland.
- One man suffered fatal burns, another was transported to Cairns Hospital in a critical condition
- A resident from nearby said the workers were laying sugarcane train tracks when the crane hit a powerline
- Queensland Workplace Health and Safety is conducing an investigation into the incident
Critical care paramedics responded to the incident on a narrow road surrounded by sugarcane, at Little Mulgrave near Goldsborough, south of Cairns, about 9:00am on Sunday.
Paramedics said one man suffered fatal burns and a second man with critical burns was transported by ambulance to Cairns Hospital a short time later.
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said a third man was taken to hospital for emotional distress.
A spokeswoman from Cairns Hospital said the two men in hospital were aged 63 and 54 and were in a stable condition.
The 63-year-old man was expected to be transferred to Brisbane.
On Sunday afternoon, about a dozen people including police, Ergon Energy crews and a workplace health and safety investigator remained onsite.
Numerous vehicles believed to be owned by MSF Sugar were also at the scene.
The Queensland Office of Industrial Relations released a statement on Sunday afternoon saying it had been “notified of a critical incident near Little Mulgrave”.
“Inspectors from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and Electrical Safety Office are conducting inquires in relation to this matter.”
MSF has also been contacted for comment.
Witness ‘heard screams’ from site
A resident from nearby, who responded in the moments after the accident, said she heard screams before rushing to the site to try to administer CPR.
“We came home and I saw the crane there and our power cut out when I was cooking breakfast and my son had yelled out that they’re hurt,” the woman, who wished only to be identified as Mel, said.
“I heard screams. I went straight down there and we commenced first aid, CPR, the best we could do but unfortunately, the tragic accident happened.”
She said she had seen the workers at the site for several weeks, replacing the tracks for the sugarcane train.
Mel said she believed the men had been laying tracks at the time of the accident when the crane came into contact with a powerline.
“I think there was one man guiding the train tracks carried by the crane, from my point of view of what we’d heard and seen,” she said.
“He [the crane driver] had a shock from when the crane had hit and the other man had gone to his rescue and received the other shock.”
Mel praised the efforts of the first responders adding that she was heartbroken for the families and mill workers affected.