Crane workers get hero awards PDF Print E-mail
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Friday, 14 December 2012 15:29

Three workmates credited with saving lives after a crane caught fire and collapsed at a Sydney construction site have been hailed as heroes - but insist they were only doing their job.

Details of their actions emerged as they accepted bravery awards on Friday for their roles in averting tragedy at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) site at Broadway in Ultimo on 27 November.

After the 65m crane caught fire, cables gave way, sending the boom crashing down onto the site as workers rushed to safety.

Crane driver Glen May, dogman Nuno Nunes and Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) delegate Gordon Cameron were given inaugural Joe Owens Bravery Awards at Sydney's Trades Hall on Friday.

In presenting the awards, NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson said the three "put their lives at risk to make sure that others didn't have their own safety and lives put at risk".

"They genuinely deserve to be recognised as heroes," he added.

Mr Nunes, 36, father of a six-month-old baby boy, scaled the crane tower to assist Mr May - and was still on it when the crane boom collapsed, but escaped injury, CFMEU NSW state secretary Brian Parker revealed.

Mr May, 60, acted fast to make sure the fire did not get worse by using an extinguisher, preventing the collapse from happening any earlier.

Mr Cameron, meanwhile, ran around the site evacuating the 150 members of staff.

Mr May, of west Sydney, said his wife of 30 years would now not let him out of her sight.

"We've never been so close as in the past few weeks," he told reporters.

"She's clung to me."

Mr May insisted there were many more heroes working on the site that day.

Mr Nunes said the drama of the day hit home when he saw his wife and little boy that evening.

"I love my job," he said.

"Stuff like this doesn't happen every day. But if it's going to happen, I would do the same again."

Mr Cameron said he was "humbled" to receive the award and praised Mr Nunes.

"I've never seen Nuno in that light before ... he was saying get out of the way, I'm getting in there, I think my mate's still in that cabin."

He described the incident as "the most frightening thing I've ever been through in my life" and said the firefighters and policemen who attended the site were also heroes.

WorkCover, emergency services and developer Lend Lease are investigating the crane fire and collapse.

 



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