Rio workers rescued from toxic red mud dam

Two operators left clinging to an overturned vehicle for several hours in Rio Tinto’s toxic alumina tailings dam have been safely rescued.

The RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service was called out to Rio Tinto’s alumina plant at Yarwun, west of Gladstone, yesterday morning when a machine used to flatten the red mud dam rolled.

"The employees became stranded at 7.30am today after the specialist piece of equipment (called an amphibious amphirol) that they were operating in the Residue Management Area overturned," Rio said in a statement.

The stranded male and female employees moved themselves to safety and the helicopter lowered a radio and supplies before a boat was used to pull the workers to safety just before midday.

"Both are safe and in good spirits," Rio said.

Paramedics treated both patients at the scene of the accident.

RIO-STRANDED-WORKERS-2.JPGRio said it is investigating the cause of the accident.

This is the second incident in less than a year at the site.

In December a 40-year-old man was winched to safety when the Amiphiroll he was operating broke down in the tailings dam.

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