A video footage showing former Beaconsfield miners Todd Russell and Brant Webb trapped 10 feet underground after a mine collapsed in an earthquake has emerged as the duo shared the ordeal that shaped their future.
Russell and Webb remained confined inside a cage at the mine for 14 days as a result of a rock collapse that killed a friend and colleague of theirs in April 2006.
The footage was aired on 60 Minutes and showed the Beaconsfield miners amidst 800 tonnes of dirt and rock. After almost a decade, the men shared how the incident made them live under a psychological trauma for years to come. Webb said that the moment he woke up was the “most horrific 15 seconds” of his life. He recalled how he managed to find a lighter in his pocket and after he lit it up they realised they were trapped in a heap of rubble.
In the footage, the men were lying next to each other, with the collapsed mine right above them. Webb said that he awaited his death as he knew that the mine was inevitably going to come down on them sometime, News.co.au reported.
Russell said that anyone who hasn’t been underground wouldn’t know what darkness is. While others consider them as heroes, the Webb described themselves as mere survivors. “We are survivors. And our heroes are the guys that got us out,” he said.
In days that followed the incident and after a workplace dispute, Webb said he started having anger issues and felt he was going out of control. He was engulfed by guilt and anger at the death of the friend at the mine.
“The white noise in your head is horrific and the depression starts and you can actually see it starting but you can’t pull it up,” he told 60 Minutes, as quoted by the Mail Online. “The anger was so bad that I said to Rach at one point I might have to set you up for six months and go down south because I don’t know what’s happening. I’m not in control anymore.”
He said talking to people about the incident brought him peace. Russell said he thought he was adjusting with the trauma but had no idea what effect it had on his family. “The person I became after being stuck underground was a monster,” he said.
He realised he should get the help he needed and never looked back after that.