Miner blasted 60m across work site
A MINER blasted 60m across the ground on a remote Queensland worksite feared touching his own torso in case something was sticking out of it.
Lying in the mud covered in blood, Gabriel Elarde could see the bones that had punctured his skin and were now poking out of his right foot and leg.
"I had to build that courage up to touch my torso," Mr Elarde said.
"I knew my leg was bad just from feeling it, but I knew if I could feel my torso and something sticking through it, I'd be dead in minutes.
"That was the scary part."
It was only his second day on the job as a labourer at the Century Mine near Mt Isa in October, 2018.
Lawyers for Mr Elarde are now preparing a lawsuit against New Century Resources, alleging it was negligent because the risk to him was both foreseeable and preventable.
"Doctors were surprised and shocked that I didn't end up paralysed or dead," he said.
The 34-year-old hasn't worked since and is still using crutches.
Mr Elarde still can't believe he isn't among 47 people killed at a Queensland mine or quarry in the past 20 years.
Eight have died in the last two years, prompting the state government to commission new analysis of the deaths, which found the resources sector runs in a "fatality cycle" and people will keep dying unless there is a safety overhaul.
Mr Elarde had been watching an older man struggling to remove a cap from a water pipe when he offered to help.
No one knew the water hadn't been turned off and the cap exploded.
The water pressure was so hard it ripped his clothes, tore off one of his boots and ultimately changed his life.
He now has a limp that could last his life and has been told he will never run or jump again.
"I could have died," he added.
"That accident was totally preventable … it didn't even have to happen."
Two government committees will consider the death analysis along with two University of Queensland reviews of existing laws before making recommendations to Mines Minister Anthony Lynham.
The mining company has been contacted for comment.