News

Coroner faults builders, welders, engineers and surveyors

CHATSWORTH father Steve Raabe has finally achieved all the justice he can for his son Craig, killed in 2007, when Category 5 Cyclone George tore across the West Australian coastline.

A coroner has now found that human incompetence, to a point that "beggars belief", was what killed Craig Raabe, and not just the most destructive cyclone to hit the Pilbara in more than 30 years.

Coroner Ros Fogliani blamed inattention by almost everyone associated with the building, planning and approval of buildings which had been built to the wrong specifications and had no chance of withstanding the storm.

"This inquest highlighted the danger to public safety when construction compliance fails and gives way to expediency," she said.

Ms Fogliani ruled that Debra Till and Craig Raabe would have survived the cyclone if not for repeated errors by the people who designed, built and approved their dongas on the Fortescue Metals rail camp where they worked.

The dongas were built to an inadequate and mistakenly applied wind rating and suffered from structural deficiencies.

"These arose by reason of a series of errors made by persons who had the knowledge and/or means to avoid them, had they applied proper standards of care and attention to the task at hand."

Coroner Ros Fogliani found that shelter provided for Craig Raabe and his fellow victim Debra Till was fatally inadequate, due to the inadequate performance of builders, welders, engineers and surveyors in charge of camp construction.

An earlier inquest had found that the camp was built to the wrong wind rating - a standard which prescribes the strength of wind buildings must be able to withstand.

The temporary accommodation had no chance of withstanding the storm, she ruled.

Mr Raabe was an excavator operator at the camp and Ms Till was a kitchen hand at the camp, which housed employees working on Fortescue's remote rail line between the Cloudbreak mine and Port Hedland.

Cyclone George blew away Ms Till's donga, killing her instantly.

Mr Raabe's donga flipped on to its roof and Mr Raabe died in hospital from head injuries.

"It beggars belief," Ms Fogliani found, "that persons responsible for the design, building and licence approval kept making, essentially the same error regarding the wind region.

"The result was that dongas designed and constructed for a non-cyclonic wind region were built in a cyclonic wind region.

"Shortly after they were completed, a number were destroyed by Cyclone George."

She criticised local government approval processes and the application of wind rating rules, as well as building procedures.

"The fatal injuries suffered by Ms Till and Mr Raabe as a consequence of their dongas being destroyed were preventable," she said.

Mr Steve Raabe said the mine owner was cleared of any wrongdoing and mines were found to be exempt from the OHS Act.

Gympie Times

Topics:  coastline, coroner



Police hunt for man after fight breaks out in Imbil

Police are investigating yesterday's incident on Yabba Creek Rd.

Police searching for man after fight breaks out outside Rattler Cafe

Lifesavers see red: "We are not babysitters"

"Locals are the worst because they just rely on us"

Local Partners

Marilyn Manson wants a 'nice' girl

Marilyn Manson wants a girl who understands both of his identities

Angelina turns to Depp for consolation after divorce

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their six children

Angelina Jolie is reportedly being consoled by Johnny Depp

Rockhampton dancer en pointe for European stages

CENTRE STAGE: Anastasia Lewis has moved from Rockhampton to Sydney to study classical ballet.

Rocky dancer believes competitions are the perfect preparation

Conner's food distraction leads to elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Conner Bethune.

HUNGER gets to castaway as Australian Survivor's tribes merge.

Bonus point gets Dan and Carleen over the line on The Block

Dan and Carleen in their winning living and dining rooms in a scene from The Block.

BABY boomers win living and dining week as show hits halfway mark.

Olivia Wilde having a girl

Olivia Wilde revealed she is expecting a baby girl.

Highway upgrade drives momentum in affordable market

Accessibility and affordability are keeping interest high

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Rocky proves prime real estate in latest REIQ report

Kas Woch sold this Wood St home in Depot Hill for $107,000 in August.

A new investor's market as Rocky house prices hit lowest in state