Source: News Mail
A man died in more than a metre of water and mud after he was pinned under a tractor that fell into an irrigation channel at a Moore Park Beach farm yesterday.
He was about to start work spraying weeds along a cane railway line at Lindemans Road when the tragic accident occurred about 6.45am. Senior Constable Tim Lowth said Stephen Michael Hetherington, 69, was killed in the incident. Mr Hetherington, who also lived on Lindemans Road, was reversing his tractor when the accident happened. ‘He reversed his tractor to commence the spray and the embankment has collapsed under it,’ Snr Const Lowth said.
‘He was on the tractor as it fell into the creek.’
The man was pinned underneath the piece of machinery in the drain and the accident was concealed from the road by the railway embankment.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Bundaberg station officer Chris Sheather said a neighbour first discovered the scene and raised the alarm.
Emergency services rushed to the area, but could not do anything for the tractor driver, who had died sometime between 6.45am and 8.20am.
The Bundaberg Energex Community Rescue Helicopter was called, but was stood down after the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police blocked the road for about two-and-a-half hours as they discussed the best way to remove the tractor from the water channel.
Mr Sheather said police organised a tow truck with a winch to right the tractor and it arrived about 10.45am.
‘(Police and firefighters) then rigged up a ladder and stretcher and recovered the body from a drop of between two and three metres,’ Mr Sheather said.
‘It was quite steep and there was a risk of further wall collapses from the side of the bank.’ Neighbours congregated in the farmhouse on the Moore Park Beach property as police and firefighters watched over the scene until the body could be safely retrieved.
Snr Const Lowth said Mr Hetherington was contracted to spray the weeds along the cane train line and the water channel A spokesman from Queensland Workplace Health and Safety confirmed to the NewsMail that it was investigating the fatal incident.
OHS News Tip: Tractor Safe Work Method Statement