Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Kiwi dies in Aussie mine rockfall

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

A New Zealander has died in an underground rockfall accident at an Australian mine.

Wayne Fowlie, 59, had been working at Central Norseman Gold's Harlequin mine, 200km south of Kalgoorlie, in the Goldfields region, when he was killed early on Saturday morning.

The father-of-three, grandfather, and long-distance runner was just months from retiring to a plot of land he'd bought back in his homeland, The West Australian reported.

"He was one of the nicest guys in town," neighbour Sharne Pietersen told the paper.

"Everybody knew him. He would give you the shirt off his back."

Mr Fowlie's daughter Mindy received the news while on holiday.

She posted a tribute photograph of her dad on Facebook yesterday.

Mr Fowlie's son Trent, who also lives in Kalgoorlie, was stunned to hear his dad had died.

On Saturday, he posted on Facebook that he had "just received the worst news" and was alerting other family members that his dad had died in a mining accident.

"Don't know a lot of details but am trying to get some. R.I.P dad, you will be missed."

The WA Department of Mines and Petroleum sent inspectors to the site on Sunday while mine operations were halted for an investigation to be carried out.

One friend, Sharne Pietersen Douglas said Mr Fowlie was "a great guy".

"[He] always managed to cheer me up and was one of the most genuine people I've ever met."


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