Raymond Terrace man grieves son’s death 

RAYMOND Terrace man Jim Connelly says he is “trying not to be angry” about the industrial accident that took the life of his 40-year-old son, David, last week.

But it has not been easy.

David Connelly died in John Hunter Hospital on Friday afternoon after being struck by the hook of an overhead crane the previous day at Tomago steel supplier Martensite Australia.

David Connelly had worked at the company for seven years as a labourer and he had often used the crane.

His father, a tradesman machinist who brought his family from Scotland just before David was born, spent a decade at Martensite, retiring in 2009.

At home yesterday with his wife, Anne, Mr Connelly recalled the youngest of his three sons as a good lad who never married, and who kept fit doing martial arts three days a week at the Raymond Terrace Koryu Uchinadi dojo.

“But he still enjoyed a beer and a smoke at weekends,” Mr Connelly said.

“He normally came home on Wednesdays after work to have a feed and his mum made sure he had stuff to take with him, because he lived by himself.

“But then we got the phone call, telling us he was at the hospital.”

Mr Connelly said his son had been kept in an induced coma until late on Friday when the family realised there would be no recovery.

“We agreed to him being an organ donor – it’s what David would have wanted – and as we were leaving the hospital the organ convoy pulled up from Sydney with its lights flashing,” Mr Connelly said.

“And we’ve just learned that his organs have helped three people – one man who was critically ill is now up and walking around – so he sort of lives on in a way.”

WorkCover said that Mr Connelly had been removing the chains from a load of steel bars when the accident happened.

A full investigation was under way and a report would be given to the Coroner.

Mr Connelly said David’s funeral could not be finalised until the coroner had released his son.

Martensite director Mark Brennan said he had known the Connellys for many years and all at the company felt for their loss.

He said WorkCover had allowed the company to resume use of the crane, and he was waiting for a final report from the authority.

He said Martensite had operated since 1997 without a serious accident.


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