10 Jun 2015

Digger driver's body recovered at quarry

8:21 pm on 10 June 2015

The body of a digger driver who was buried under about 1500 tonnes of rock at a North Canterbury quarry has been recovered - more than two days after the accident happened.

Murray Taylor, right, with wife Jill.

Murray Taylor with his wife, Jill Photo: Facebook

Quarry operator Murray Taylor was trapped when a rockface gave way at his Heathstock Haulage quarry, near Waikari, on Monday morning.

A large operation has been underway since then to remove rock and debris to reach him.

Inspector Corrie Parnell said Mr Taylor's body was recovered from the crumpled cab of the damaged excavator shortly before 4pm today.

He said more than 50 people worked on the recovery operation including police, the Fire Service, WorkSafe, geotechnical experts and private contractors, who operated heavy machinery.

Mr Parnell said the damage to the digger had been catastrophic.

"We've shifted in the capacity of 1500 tonnes of material, simply to get around the excavation equipment clear," he said.

"We had some difficulties - one rock was close to 100-tonne, which had come down on top of the boom of that vehicle, which was effectively prohibiting us from getting that machine clear."

He said it was too early to talk about prosecutions following Mr Taylor's death.

"At this stage, we have completed operations at the front end. The quarry has now been secured. It comes under the auspices of WorkSafe New Zealand and is subject to a prohibition order, in terms of any further work going on here," he said.

"There will be ongoing investigations in respect of both police and WorkSafe New Zealand, in conjunction with Hurunui Council."

Mr Parnell extended condolences from the police to Mr Taylor's family.

A hearse leaves the Heathstock Haulage lime quarry near Waikari on Wednesday 10 June.

A hearse leaves the Heathstock Haulage lime quarry near Waikari on Wednesday. Photo: RNZ / Sally Murphy

The Pyramid Valley quarry where a digger driver was buried in a rock slide.

Mr Taylor was buried when part of a cliff collapsed at the quarry on Monday. Photo: Westpac Rescue

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