Grieving mother says company not to blame for son’s death

The mother of a man killed at a quarry this week has spoken of her grief.

Ryan Messenger, 25, was killed when his excavator rolled down an embankment at Karuah’s Hunter Quarries on Tuesday.

 After a two day recovery operation, Messenger’s body was removed from the site at around 7 o’clock last night.

Messenger’s mum, Jane Russell, paid tribute to her son in a statement released yesterday.

“Being a parent whom has to lay their first born son to rest at the young age of 25 is going to be the hardest thing I have ever had to endure in my life,” Russell said.

“Ryan has always been the life of the room- he was always the class clown! He is loved lots by his sister Teara, his brother Ethan, step-brother Rob and his niece Shaffira.

“Ryan loved life to the fullest but loved his wife Alexandra more! They married in February this year, had built a home together and should have had a long loving life with each other. The kind of love they have will live on forever. Alexandra and her family loved Ryan as much as his own family loved him! 

“Ryan was a real ‘mates mate’, he never left a mate behind and he has a great bunch of mates (brothers).”

Despite Messenger’s death being the second fatality at the quarry, Russell said she does not blame the company for the accident.

“I would like to thank Hunter Quarries from the bottom of my very broken heart, for the utmost support and their willing to go out of their way to make us as comfortable as possible over the past few days. Hunter Quarries is not, from my point of view, at fault.

“This is a very sad accident that has taken place and is just that- an accident- and nothing more.”

Russell said her son had worked at the quarry for two years, starting first as a labourer/driver before being promoted to a leading hand.

“He was excited to get this job where he learnt the right way to be the safe and experienced operator he had become.”

Russell’s husband also works at the site.

“Hunter Quarries has shown our families nothing but compassion and support in many ways. All the people whom work within the Hunter Group are treated as a big extended family and I cannot thank them enough for all of their support.”

One of the owners of the quarry, Hilton Grugeon, has accused government mine inspectors for botching the recovery of Messenegr’s body labelling it as “an extraordinary display of incompetence’’, Newcastle Herald reported.

‘‘I am confident the company has done nothing wrong but there’s an investigation to go through and that should happen but there should also be an investigation into the incompetence displayed by the department of mines,”Grugeon said.

Concerns that the accident site may have been unstable had led crews to order cranes to assist.

‘‘The government’s mining inspectors took control of the site from the start on Tuesday morning and although we had a retrieval company ready to go they refused to allow that to happen,’’Grugeon said.

 ‘‘They brought one crane on, then a second, and then a third, and yet in all of that time nothing whatsoever happened.

‘‘They were very good at going through the books and looking at the paperwork but nobody they sent was competent or trained or able to do the job.’’


To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.