Irish News

Thursday 31 July 2014

Tributes after Irishman dies at tourist mine

Cormac Murphy and Caroline Crawford

Published 01/04/2014|07:48

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TRAGIC: The scene of the accident and victim Kevin Browne (inset)
Tragic: Kevin Browne

TRIBUTES have been paid to “happy-go-lucky” Dubliner Kevin Browne, who fell to his death at a tourist attraction in Australia.

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Devastated friends of the 27-year-old described him as a really special person.

Local police say Kevin slipped and fell from rigging at a replica mine in the Hard Times tourist attraction in Mount Isa – an outback town in Queensland.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is liaising with his family, and separately with the family of a young Galway man, Robert McHale (23) who died in another tragic accident in China.

Robert’s parents Georgina and Vincent have travelled to Shanghai to formally identify their son.

It is understood he drowned after slipping into a river in the city, and sadly his remains were discovered by Chinese police on Saturday.

Meanwhile, family members of Kevin Browne were being comforted at their Clondalkin home following his death.

Irish folk singer Robbie Dunn, who regularly plays in Mount Isa, told the Herald: “It was terrible. They were out on the town and he had an accident.

“He was a very happy-go-lucky sort of chap. We were up there playing for Paddy's Day and everybody was having a ball. It's one of those tragic stories.”

Kevin’s family in Clondalkin and his partner Jane Casey – also from Dublin but living in Mount Isa – were informed of his death on Sunday.

Numerous cars were parked outside his family home last night where family members were too upset to comment.

Speaking of his friend, Robbie said: “I know him from a few years ago. He was working in the mines. He was very, very happy.

“The last time I saw him was on the dance floor, jumping around, having the craic.”

Kevin and his partner Jane were a popular couple in the Irish community in Mount Isa, a mining town.

Robbie told the Herald: “(Kevin) was a great ambassador for Ireland. Everybody just loved him.

“That's why everybody is devastated. I can still hear his laughter. I'm still in shock.”

Police in Mount Isa are preparing a report for the coroner into the 27-year-old's death.

Superintendent Russell Miller said Mr Browne had been living and working in Mount Isa.

He said the incident was believed to have occurred after midnight on Saturday and confirmed family had been informed of his death.

Mr Browne had been out with friends, it is understood.

Police were contacted about 5.30am on Sunday when he had not returned home.

His body was found by members of the public at around 11.30am on the same day.

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