The 7th July 2011 is a date seared into the hearts and minds of Jordan Marriott-Statham’s family and friends – forever. On this day, he was tragically killed, crushed by a loaded crane in Port Hedland, in WA’s North-West.
Jordan was a well-loved and cheerful worker in the belting yard of BHP’s operations on Finucane Island – part of the port. Little did he, or others know that the crane operating nearby had a fatal flaw.
How do you begin to pick up the pieces or even process such a sudden, horrific tragedy when you are the family left behind?
Kelly Marriott-Statham was the one with this initial, terrifying task in the minutes, hours and days after hearing about Jordan’s death. His young wife of only three months, Kelly had moved with Jordan from their idyllic hometown of Kiama NSW, to make a start in the mining industry in Western Australia. As excited and hopeful newlyweds, their plans for a great life together were well underway.
Kelly was eight weeks pregnant with their first child. Here she tells the story in her own words.
“My whole life was upturned on the 7th of July, 2011 at 5:20am. I heard knocking at the front door and my immediate thought was that Jordan had forgotten to take his keys to night shift again! I stormed to the front door, annoyed Jordan had gotten me out of bed so early, only to open the door to two policemen who told me Jordan was involved in an accident at work. That he was dead. Representatives from Jordan’s work were there too, asking who they could call for me and what they could do; telling me that they had one of the best counsellors on the first flight from Perth that morning to comfort me.”
“I spoke with this highly anticipated counsellor that morning, who seemed so detached, disinterested and unsure. She didn’t have answers to my practical questions. The representatives from Jordan’s work were unable to tell me where Jordan was, even where his belongings were. That first day was full of a deep sadness, shock and unexpected chaos. I felt alone, and all the people sent to help me on that day were all but useless.”
“Miners’ Promise were the first people that knew the processes, knew what needed to happen and who were there solely for me. I didn’t want to sit with a counsellor and talk through everything at that stage – I wasn’t ready. I needed practical help, to organise the funeral, help me with my finances, book flights, get photos onto the right devices for the services and coordinate my family. They came in that second day and took everything in her stride, was able to tell me what the next step was that I needed to take and provided me with the means to do it.”
The practical help was amazingly therapeutic, and helped start the mental process of saying goodbye to my husband. They even arranged and conducted the memorial service held in Port Hedland for all his work colleagues and friends who wouldn’t make it back to NSW for the funeral. They liaised with the coroner and were able to keep me informed about where Jordan was, what flight he would be on and when he would be arriving home. They were my ‘go to’ people. All the ‘big wigs’ from the companies spoke to me through them, which I’d been finding quite overwhelming to deal with. They even took me to the bank to sort out our loans and joint account.
I would also need a lawyer to finalise Jordan’s estate, and they were able to recommend lawyers to do so. They came with me to my initial meeting with the lawyers in Perth and was able to support me and talk me through anything I didn’t understand. She was also able to orchestrate my move back to NSW, engaging removalists and car transport. The initial three weeks following Jordan’s unexpected death was hectic and scary to say the least, and I can only imagine what it would have been like if it wasn’t for the support Miners’ Promise provided me with.
“They were able to meet with the Department of Mines and Petroleum, when the companies involved in Jordan’s death were handed down the findings of the accident. They then flew over to NSW to deliver my family and I the news, and stayed for a couple of days in town just in case I had any other questions and to help me with other things surrounding Jordan’s death.”
“In the years following Jordan’s death my life has changed dramatically, and Miners’ Promise has been there every step of the way. It’s hard to put into words what the organisation has done for me. Their ongoing practical support and advice regarding mining processes has been invaluable. The liaison between the companies and myself, translating lawyer speak, making me aware of legislative and coronial processes and having sound mining sector knowledge have lightened the load.”
“Saying I am grateful for the assistance and support doesn’t seem adequate. What Miners’ Promise has done for me goes beyond help, knowing things were taken care of allowed me to concentrate on my grief and to raise my daughter.”
“Thank you, thank you, thank you, Miners’ Promise. My daughter and I would not be here today, happy and healthy, without your help.”
– Kelly Marriott-Statham