Rio Tinto machine operator winched to safety by helicopter

A RIO TINTO machine operator, stranded in the middle of a tailings dam was winched to safety by the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter today.

The worker was operating a specialised piece of equipment known as an Amiphiroll when the machine became inoperable and broke down some distance from the bank at Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun's refinery Resident Management Area (RMA).

Given the location of the Amphiroll on the RMA, Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun contacted the Queensland Police and Rescue and AGL Action Rescue Helicopter for assistance.

Rescue Crew Officer Brent Malden was winched down to the 40-year-old Agnes Water man who was connected to a rescue strop and safely winched aboard the helicopter.

The AGL Action Rescue Helicopter landed 300 metres away on the bank where the uninjured man was reunited with co-workers.

In a statement released by Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun, they said they appreciate the support of Queensland Police and Rescue and will make a donation to the AGL Action Rescue Helicopter in recognition of the great work they do in the community.

The statement also read that the safety of the employee, who is in good health, was the highest priority at all times.

Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun is investigating the cause of the incident.