Police said Sean McBride, from Burtonport, fell into the sea when scaffolding collapsed on the cargo wharf about 1pm Australian time.
“Police were advised that a man working on the Rio Tinto wharf on East Intercourse Island in Dampier was missing after the scaffolding he was dismantling collapsed into the harbour,” Inspector David Picton-King said.
“Nearby workers did not see him fall but heard the sound of falling scaffolding and then sighted the man’s hard hat floating in the water.”
Colleagues then raised the alarm and rescue equipment was deployed by wharf personnel.
Police divers have been sent to the site to search for the missing man.
The Australian Department of Mines and Petroleum is examining the circumstances surrounding the incident and has sent an investigator from Karratha to the site.
A spokesman would not comment further.
A Rio Tinto spokesman said the missing man, a contractor, had been working on the scaffolding when it collapsed.
“All work has ceased at East Intercourse Island and access to the site has been closed,” he said.
Mr McBride, in his late 20s, is from a well-respected family in Burtonport.
This evening a close family friend told us: “The family are obviously devastated and details of exactly what has happened are still a bit sketchy, so everyone is pulling together.
“He’s a great young man from a very good local family.”
It’s understood consular officials are helping to keep the family up to date with the investigation.Tags: