Donald Rabbitt, 33, was killed while working at Blackwater's Curragh coal mine. He was reportedly working on a float, which transports machinery, when it crushed him.
Donald Rabbitt, 33, was killed while working at Blackwater's Curragh coal mine. He was reportedly working on a float, which transports machinery, when it crushed him.

‘What happened to my son?’: Broken dad fights for answers

THE father of an experienced tyre fitter allegedly crushed to death at a Blackwater mine says he is being stonewalled in his pursuit of answers.

Donald Rabbitt, 33, was the victim of an horrific workplace incident at Curragh Coal Mine on Sunday.

Heartbroken father Robin Rabbitt says it should never have happened.

As he made funeral arrangements for burial in the family plot in Goondiwindi, the elder Mr Rabbitt hit out at the lack of information he had received about the death of his son, who he affectionately called "Bubba Don Don".

"I want to know what happened to my son," Mr Rabbitt, 57, said.

"I would hate to see someone else go through this."

Mr Rabbitt claimed he had been stonewalled in getting a clear picture of the circumstances surrounding the incident, which claimed his son's life - the first mining death in 2020 and the eighth in the past 20 months.

"They're not even sure what time he was killed," Mr Rabbitt said.

The heartbroken father of Donald Rabbitt wants to know what happened to his son when he was killed while working at Blackwater's Curragh coal mine.
The heartbroken father of Donald Rabbitt wants to know what happened to his son when he was killed while working at Blackwater's Curragh coal mine.

From what he could piece together he said Donald had been working a shift alone and was changing a 4.5 tonne tyre when it fell from about waist height, crushing him. He was found about 4.30pm.

"The union told me he could have been laying there for half an hour under the tyre," Mr Rabbitt said.

"It's common knowledge (that) you don't have one person working on their own.

"I was talking to the union bloke and he said they're not supposed to be working on their own; that there are supposed to be two to three people. I am so, so p---ed off my son is dead."

Through his grief Mr Rabbitt has vowed to get answers.

"Is my son dead because (he was) out there fitting tyres on his own?" he said.

"The union, they're trying to jump all over this and they said to me, 'don't be surprised if it takes two years.

"It can't take two years."

The Queensland Mines Inspectorate is investigating the death.

"As our investigation has just commenced, we are unable to provide further information at this time," a Mines Inspectorate spokesman said.

Mine owner Coronado Global Resources and Donald's employer Thiess have declined to make any further comment beyond offering sympathy and condolences to "family, friends, workmates and all those affected at this sad time".

"Our priority is with supporting the investigation and ensuring the wellbeing of our workforce," a Coronado spokesman said.

"Briefings, as well as counselling and employee support services, are being provided and offered to all mine workers."

Operations remain suspended while an investigation is undertaken.


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