Oaky North triumphs - again

OAKY North has won the 2014 National Mines Rescue Champions competition – winning the title for the second consecutive year against a strong field last week.
Oaky North triumphs - again Oaky North triumphs - again Oaky North triumphs - again Oaky North triumphs - again Oaky North triumphs - again

The Oaky North team: Jim Young (captain), Michael Corrie, Steve Dawe, Jason Krebs, Lenny Suluvale, Tim Trewin, James Vardanega and Luke Vella.

Blair Price

The team from the Broadmeadow longwall mine was close behind in second place while the Crinum mine’s crew was placed third out of the nine teams of six rescuers each.

Held at Glencore’s Oaky North longwall mine on Thursday, the competitors worked through nine emergency response scenarios which served up various underground and pit top challenges.

The crews performed mock search and rescue exercises, evacuated casualties using air bags and also managed multi-casualty situations.

They also faced a theory exam about their mine rescue knowledge as part the encompassing point system used to determine the leader board.

Queensland Mines Rescue CEO Wayne Hartley said the skills, resourcefulness and leadership demonstrated this year were exceptional – a view echoed by NSW Mines Rescue general manager Paul Healey.

“Having brigadesmen like these, whether victorious or not, should give our mining industry great confidence: they have clearly demonstrated why Australia’s mine emergency response capabilities are considered to be amongst the best in the world,” Healey said.

Oaky North team captain Jim Young said it was an absolute honour to be named best in the country for the second year in a row.

“We trained hard, and we knew the competition would be fierce,” he said.

“The victory was a credit to the team, and I would like to thank them for their dedication and commitment, and also the sacrifice and commitment of their families.”

Apart from giving credit to the organisers and all other team members, he also thanked the Oaky North management team for their ongoing support.

“We have only recently arrived back from competing in the 9th International Mines Rescue Competition in Poland, so I would like to give special thanks to Darren Nichols, Scott Dobbie, Ron McKenna, Gary Mitford and Marc Kirsten for arranging time off for us to train,” Young said.

“I would also like to thank Gordon McLean for his dedicated training and assistance in first aid. Finally a special mention and thank you to Steve Dawe who is our emergency response coordinator, for all of his behind-the-scenes organisation and training.”

Glencore’s Queensland director of underground operations Darren Nichols said Oaky Creek Coal was keen to accept the task of hosting this year’s event.

“Competitions like the one we have hosted today at our Oaky North mine are critical to our industry,” he said.

“They ensure that our operations and employees are supported by emergency response teams of the highest calibre.”

Four teams each from Queensland and NSW competed along with one team from Tasmania. The event was the 52nd year for the annual competition.

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