Miner's family not giving up
THE distraught family of the Fraser Coast father trapped in a New Zealand coal mine were last night refusing to give up hope he was still alive.
Willy Joynson, 49, who was born in Howard, was one of 29 miners to be reported missing following a massive gas explosion last Friday.
Last night family members from around the region gathered at the home Mr Joynson grew up in to support his mother, Beryl, who was too upset to face the media.
His wife, Kim, and two children were reportedly among families keeping a vigil at the mine site, where an expert drilling team had begun working their way through a shaft yesterday afternoon.
Mr Joynson’s sister, Veronica Cook, described him as “loyal, tough and honest” and said if her brother was still alive, he would be encouraging his fellow miners to say positive.
“He would be telling them not to give up, so we’re not going to give up on him,” she said.
Last night, authorities announced methane levels had decreased enough for the first stages of a rescue operation to start, but warned it could take days.
The wait has been agonising for My Joynson’s family, including his cousin, Russ, who worked alongside him in Howard’s Burgowan mines.
“We came from generations of underground coal miners and worked together for a long time,” Russ said.
“We went through a lot, but we never got tangled in anything like this. I don’t even remember a time when any of us had a bad accident.”
Russ described Mr Joynson as “a likeable guy” and hard worker who was always happy.
After leaving Burgowan in the late 1990s, Mr Joynson moved around mines in Central Queensland before going to New Zealand last year.