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Beaconsfield miners clock off

BEACONSFIELD miners Brant Webb and Todd Russell were rescued after two weeks trapped in a small steel cage one kilometre underground. The men emerged at about 6am on Tuesday morning, 14 days after an earth tremor on Anzac Day sealed the shaft they were working in. The two were discovered alive five days later and rescuers worked around the clock in extremely difficult conditions to free the men. Mine manager Matthew Gill said rescue workers had to drill through rock up to five times harder than concrete. Mr Webb and Mr Russell’s colleague, Larry Knight, died in the rock fall. Mr Knight’s funeral was held on Tuesday afternoon, with the two mine survivors emerging in just enough time to pay their last respects to him. The Beaconsfield Mine will now remain closed until its safety is assured by the chief inspector of mines. Prime Minister John Howard has pledged to help the small Beaconsfield community deal with the accident and the expected closure of the mine.

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