DIFFICULT SCENE: Firefighter Michael Gagnepain is offered water after working in the trench conveying medical supplies.
DIFFICULT SCENE: Firefighter Michael Gagnepain is offered water after working in the trench conveying medical supplies. Kelly Butterworth Emepilot

Buried man presented ‘a huge challenge’ for rescue crews

TRYING to monitor trapped man Richard Forsythe's condition in such a treacherous situation was a huge challenge.

"Our big problem was that we couldn't monitor him effectively because we had a choice of either monitoring equipment down there, or a person," Dr Ian Housego said.

"The patient came out amazingly stable given the extent of his injuries."

Dr Housego said all staff involved in the incident were "suffering", with some requiring drips and medical treatment.

Emerald Fire Station acting station officer Peter Carroll said the four hours of work begun on the site at 12.39pm to extricate Mr Forsythe was "incredibly challenging".

"We had to physically get in, hands and knees, and dig," Mr Carroll said.

"At 15.47 (3.47pm) he was finally released from the soil and the process from there was getting him up out of the trench.

"At 15.52 (3.52pm) we handed him over to the hospital staff."

Firefighters and police staff were working in the trench shovelling the dirt around medical personnel, in a "complex" situation.

Central Highlands Regional Council chief executive officer Scott Mason said the council, which owns the site at which the accident occurred, was concerned for the "welfare of the injured contractor".

"The council is co-operating with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland officers undertaking their investigations," Mr Mason said.

"The site has been made secure as instructed."

Mr Day, Dr Housego and Mr Carroll thanked everyone involved and wished Mr Forsythe a quick recovery.


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