Northern Ireland

Tributes paid to Shaun McBride who died in Australia

Tributes have been paid to a Donegal man killed in a construction accident in Australia.

Shaun McBride, 28, from Burtonport was taking down scaffolding in the town of Dampier in Western Australia when it collapsed on Saturday.

He was working on a jetty owned by the mining giant Rio Tinto Iron Ore when part of the scaffolding collapsed into the sea. Emergency services were called to the scene, as were police divers from Perth.

The divers later retrieved Mr McBride's body from the area.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs have been providing consular assistance to the McBride family.

Donegal County Councillor David Alcorn knew Mr McBride and has visited his family.

"Shaun was a fine strong man who worked in Dublin and in London before moving to Australia a couple of years ago," he said.

"He was a great worker and a member of a very good family who are very much involved in our community in Burtonport.

"A huge number of people have been calling to the family home to convey their sympathy. The only thing we can do is pray and remember his mother Sylvia, brothers and sisters.

"Hopefully it won't be too long before his remains are brought back from Australia to be buried here in our own area."

In Australia, a police and Mines Department investigation is underway into the cause and circumstances surrounding the accident, and a coroner's inquiry is underway.

Horrifying

Gervasse Green from Rio Tinto Iron Ore said his company was helping the authorities with their investigation.

"He was with a team of contractors who were working on one of our jetties at the port of Dampier. It is a large jetty where the iron ore ships are berthed," he said.

"They were carrying out routine maintenance work which includes work on scaffolding and the reports are that the other workers heard a flash, turned around and saw that the man wasn't there and some of the scaffolding appeared to have fallen into the water.

"Somebody jumped into the water but efforts to locate him were unsuccessful."

Mr Green said Rio Tinto Iron Ore would also conduct its own investigation into the accident.

"A fatality of this nature is very unusual and it's horrifying when it does happen.

"In additional to the coroner's investigation we will do our own comprehensive investigation to see what we can do, if anything, to prevent anything like this happening again," he said.