'I want answers': Wife of mining death victim lashes out
THE mourning wife of the Sunshine Coast veteran who was crushed in a Tasmanian mine tragedy has attacked the Department of Defence for long recruitment delays that she says led to his death.
Nathaniel Beesley, 32, died on March 17 in the Savage River mine rockfall, and his wife is angry he had to take the job in the first place.
He was working to support his family while waiting for a transfer to the Australian Defence Force, after serving on two tours of Afghanistan in the UK Royal Marines.
His wife Katie Beesley said he had been attempting to make the transfer since 2014.
She left a scathing message on the Defence Force Jobs Facebook page after the tragedy.
"You have told my husband since July last year that his interview would be 'next month' and yet no interview or arrangements were made," Mrs Beesley said.
"He was not contacted despite being told weeks ago by an army major that he would get back to him 'within a couple of days'.
"I do not want any bureaucratic, 'this is the process' generic response. I want answers from those who run the recruitment process. Because at some point in the future I need to explain to my 4-year-old and 1-year-old why he was treated so badly."
A Defence spokesman said the agency was examining the circumstances of the application.
Royal Marines Association Queensland president Cleve Whitford, who successfully transferred to the Australian Navy after emigrating, told the Courier Mail the process was not complicated.
He said recruiters should have done everything possible to enlist a soldier with Mr Beesley's experience and training.
Friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe page to help support Mrs Beesley and her two sons.
Donors have already raised more than $32,000 in five days.
Mrs Beesley said her husband's body had been recovered from the mine.
"I am told his death would have been instant - no suffering," she said in a message to supporters.
"I am also told that Nathan was the one who raised the alarm so that the other workers had time to shelter from the falling rock.
"They all survived thankfully. But Nathan stood no chance - the rocks fell directly onto him.
"Nathan has always been a hero, we all know that. But the fact that he was a hero in the very last moments of life is incredible and so comforting.
"Deep down, through all the grief and pain, I know I am blessed because I had him for 13 whole years - he was mine and I was his and that will never change because I know he is still with me and the boys really."
WorkSafe Tasmania is investigating the circumstances behind the mining tragedy.