NSW coal trainer died on way to Pike: coroner

IN THE same year that the Pike River mine explosion in New Zealand killed 29 miners, a New South Wales trainer on his way to the mine died when his car careered off the road and down an embankment, according to the NZ coroner.
NSW coal trainer died on way to Pike: coroner NSW coal trainer died on way to Pike: coroner NSW coal trainer died on way to Pike: coroner NSW coal trainer died on way to Pike: coroner NSW coal trainer died on way to Pike: coroner

 

Lou Caruana

Barry Pearson, who was supposed to be working for three days at the Pike River mine in July 2010, was killed on the morning he was due to begin training when his ute slid off Taylorville Road.

Pearson died immediately from the accident while his co-worker Mark Baggs, who was in the passenger seat, survived but suffered serious spinal injuries.

At the time of the accident, which occurred just after 6am on July 12, conditions on the road were reported to be icy and hazardous and an investigation showed Pearson lost control when he drove around a bend on Taylorville Road, according to the NZ Herald.

In his finding, Coroner Richard McElrea said reflective posts and better positioned signs should have been in place on the stretch of road where the crash occurred, but Pearson's lack of experience driving on a roads in hazardous and frosty conditions could not be overlooked.

He reportedly added that Pearson “was an experienced driver”

“But he was not experienced in driving in the conditions he was in, namely frost and icy conditions on a South Island road in the middle of winter.

“The speed he was traveling at would have been appropriate in normal conditions, but with local knowledge he would have been traveling at a lesser speed."

Last month VLI Drilling yesterday pleaded guilty to three charges relating to a failure to have a procedure in place to verify Pike River Coal had conducted its inspections of its drill rig before the explosion which killed 29 miners in November 2010.

The company was remanded to October 26, 2012 for sentencing at the Greymouth District Court and could be fined up to a total of $NZ750,000.

The charges brought against VLI Drilling by the Department of Labour of NZ do not relate specifically to the Pike River mine disaster, the company said in a statement.

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