Colleagues rescue buried friend

Queensland Ambulance transported a boy to the Mackay Base Hospital.
Queensland Ambulance transported a boy to the Mackay Base Hospital. John McCutcheon

THE 49-year-old man buried alive after tonnes of composting mushrooms fell on top of him was saved by swift-thinking colleagues.

Emergency services were called about 9am to the Palmwoods Mushrooms facility on Landershute Road after giant steel shelves toppled onto him as he worked.

The 25mm metal bars and five cubic metres of compost fell on top of him.

Co-workers, including some family members, swung into action and cleared his mouth so he could breathe.

From there, the seven would-be rescuers worked to dislodge the steel from on top of him.

When Queensland Fire and Rescue crews from Nambour plus ambulances and police arrived, he had been freed.

He was taken by ambulance to Nambour General Hospital with expected minor injuries.

QFRS Nambour station officer Peter Harvey said being called to a "live rescue" was always a dreaded task.

"It was soil, about five cubic metres, that collapsed," he said.

"On arrival, we found he had been freed by his seven co-workers.

"They exposed his face to allow breathing then cut the steel bracing.

"It could have weighed between four or five tonnes, though the exact weight is unknown.

Mr Harvey said in incidents like these, the chance of survival was "very slim".

"It doesn't take long," he said.

"But he was coherent, conscious and in a little bit of pain when we arrived."

The business owner declined to comment.

Workplace Health and Safety crews are now investigating.

Topics:  palmwoods

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