An employee of the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service has been killed and another two have been severely injured following a rockfall in the Blue Mountains National Park, on Wednesday 29 November 2017. The deceased worker has been identified as a 36-year-old man, but no further details have been released at this time. Both of the other victims are described as being in serious conditions, with multiple injuries including fractures to their legs. It is understood that all three were trapped beneath large rocks and that it took several hours to extract the injured men safely.
Rescue workers at the scene of the 29 November 2017 Blue Mountains rockfall. 9 News.
The men are understood to have been working on a section of trackway that had been closed to the public since August when concerns were raised about the safety of the area by geotechnical engineers. The incident is reported to have been caused by a large slab of sandstone detaching from a rockface. Sandstone is made up of large grains of crystal, typically quartz, held together by a matrix of another material, typically calcite (i.e two different minerals with different physical properties), it is particularly prone to erosion, as heating and cooling of the rock on a seasonal, or even daily, cycle, causes the minerals to expand at different rates, leading to the formation of cracks. These cracks can be further widened by water entering them and freezing, pushing them further open, and allowing more water to enter on the next cycle.
Injured worker being airlifted to hospital following the 29 November 2017 rockfall. APP.
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