Having a drink for their mate John Webb are Ross Hall, Warren Hall, Phil Sawyer, Jim Milner and Lindsay Evans
Having a drink for their mate John Webb are Ross Hall, Warren Hall, Phil Sawyer, Jim Milner and Lindsay Evans

Three cheers to miner miracle

By BRONWYN CUMMINGS

IN a backyard shed at Agnes Water, 10 drinks were held high as cheer after cheer erupted from John Webb's best mates in celebration of the safe release of his son, Brant.

Brant Webb and Todd Russell walked from the mine at Beaconsfield yesterday morning, after two weeks trapped in a cage about 1km underground.

Some of the men had been celebrating since before 5am when Mr Webb telephoned his friends to say his son's release would happen at any tick of the clock.

Friends Warren Hall and Jim Milner passed the hat around Mr Webb's favourite watering hole for cash dona-tions to help get Mr Webb and his partner Val to Tasmania immediately after they heard about the accident.

"He's the type of bloke who helps out so we just chipped in to help him out,'' Mr Evans said.

Dennis Window could not believe it when he saw Brant Webb and Todd Russell emerge from the Beaconsfield mine's elevator at dawn yesterday.

"I am so glad it is all over and they are both safe," Mr Window said.

"It is unbelievable they came out of it all so healthy."

Agnes Water residents let out a collective sigh of relief yesterday when they heard the "Miner Miracle" news of the rescue of the town's favourite son, Brant Webb.

By lunch time Michelle Godbee was still getting goosebumps every time she thought about it.

Mrs Godbee has known Agnes Water resident John Webb, his partner Val and daughter Kim for many years, and was so relieved the family could hold their son and brother in their arms again.

"I don't know how to explain how I felt - it's just a miracle really."

Mrs Godbee said she had been in contact with the family soon after the Anzac Day accident, which took the life of miner Larry Knight, to offer her condolences, but was told not to give up hope of finding the undiscovered miners alive.

"We were actually going to close our shop today to celebrate, but we had too many bookings," the Agnes Water Tyre Services manager said.

"I did not think they would look so healthy - it really is amazing."

Mrs Godbee said the first thing she did when she arrived at work was to change the sign out the front to alert any one who did not already know the happy news.

"I am not usually very good at changing the sign, but this is definitely worth changing the sign for," she said.

"Three cheers for Brant and Todd."

The men walked from the mine about 6am yesterday, punching the air before being embraced by their family.

The funeral of Larry Knight was held in Launceston at 1pm.



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