Trapped for 15 hours

Pictures of a hard-rock refuge chamber identical to that which was used in yesterday's underground rockfall.

A miner trapped 1000 metres underground by a rock fall spent more than 15 hours in a rescue chamber identical to the chamber pictured.

Emergency crews worked through the night to rescue the trapped man who took refuge in the purpose-built safety refuge station.

According to a spokesperson for BHP Billiton, a ‘seismic event’ sparked the rock fall at the BHP Nickel West Perseverance mine at Leinster, 370 kilometres north of Kalgoorlie, at about 2.30pm (WST) yesterday.

It is reported that there were about 70 employees underground at the time of the rock fall.

Everyone apart from the man isolated in the refuge chamber came to the surface after the fall.

Although refuge chambers are commonplace in Australia’s metaliferous mines, enforceable under DOCEP’s official Guidelines, no such standard exists for Australia’s underground coal mines.

According to the manufacturer of the refuge chamber, underground coal mines should also use the technology to save lives.

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