Tasmania Police believes that it is “highly unlikely” that the missing PYBAR contract worker at the Henty gold mine in Tasmania could have survived a mine collapse.
Police were continuing to work with Henty mine operator Diversified Minerals and contractor PYBAR Mining Services on plans to recover the body of the now presumed deceased worker.
After police and the mine’s emergency response team used drones with 3D and thermal imaging technology to access the area, they were yet able to find signs of life.
“Using imagery and technical information to assess the site, it can only be concluded that he died in the incident,” Tasmania Police stated in a media release.
“We have been liaising closely with his family since the incident and engaging with the Henty workforce who are all suffering at this tragic time.
“Our thoughts remain with the man’s loved ones, friends, colleagues and the West Coast community.”
The PYBAR Mining Services contract worker was reported missing at around 4am on Thursday morning when three of his colleagues could not make contact with him while he was working 20-minutes descent underground.
His three co-workers came across a section of collapsed earth in the area the man had been working and subsequently returned to the surface to raise the alarm.
Operations at Henty were suspended and emergency services including Tasmania Police, Ambulance Tasmania, Work Safe Tasmania and the Mines Inspector were notified about the incident.
Tasmania Police used a thermal imaging drone and robotic camera to search the area of the collapsed earth, while officers from the bomb response group, the chief police pilot and ambulance workers went for an underground search.
Diversified Minerals released a statement confirming that the missing man was the only person unaccounted for at the site following the accident.
“We are deeply concerned about the management, staff and emergency personnel at the mine who have been affected by this incident and are providing them with the necessary support and counselling,” PYBAR chief executive Brendan Rouse said.
“PYBAR are working closely with the Henty site team to establish the extent of the affected area.”