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The man behind the Beaconsfield Mine rescue.


No doubt you will know about the famous Apollo 13 rescue mission that was turned into a major Hollywood film by acclaimed director Ron Howard. The film depicted the real life events of the incredible rescue mission devised by NASA's mission control to save the lives of the three astronauts.

Previous experience

Story: On the 25th April 2006 Australia and the rest of the world were stunned to hear about a major mine collapse in Beaconsfield Tasmania. At 5.45pm on 30 April, rescue workers discovered that Todd Russell and Brant Webb were still alive. What followed was an incredible coordination effort by dozens of rescue workers who were now focused on getting the miners out.

Call: Sitting at home watching this unfold was explosive expert Darren Flanagan. That Sunday night Darren received a phone call that would change his life for ever. And so began one of the most amazing rescue attempts in history.

1st Time: What Darren was about to attempt had never been tried before in the world, let alone in an attempt to tunnel to two trapped miners. A highly regarded explosives expert, Darren spent five days trying to refine an explosive charge that would tunnel through the rock without killing the miners.

Success: After 29 hours of non-stop exhaustive blasting that left Darren physically and emotionally exhausted, Darren was able to eventually blast to within 300mm of the trapped miners, enabling rescuers to get to Todd and Brant and complete this phenomenal rescue.

Hero: That one phone call changed Darren's life from being an ordinary family man into one of the real heroes of the 'Great Escape'. His story is emotive, dramatic and extraordinary. It’s one of endurance and the triumph of the human spirit. As a result of the rescue, Todd and Brant nicknamed Darren 'The Gun'. In this emotional and truly memorable session, Darren will share his story and in doing so, demonstrate the capacity of ordinary people to show unrelenting spirit and perform under extreme pressure when faced with a set of extraordinary circumstances.

Presenter: Darren's presentations are always passionate, thrilling and humorous, drawing guests into a truly memorable, real life drama.

Talking Points

The Great Escape<

Darren's talks cover areas including... - Risk management; - Achieving against all odds; - Persistence; - Thinking outside the square; - Working under pressure; - Teamwork; - Occupational health and safety; and - Mental health.
To say it was an interesting, absorbing and dramatic presentation would not be doing it justice. Darren Flanagan's talk was electrifying, emotional and detailed. His description of the rescue operation and the conditions the miners survived in, made us all understand, not only the enormity of the operation and the delicacy of the final preparations to break through to the miners as well as the extreme conditions that rescuers and rescued were sharing but how the Aussie spirit shone through. As well as privileged, we were enthralled, thrilled but most of all thankful to have such a dinkum, brave Aussie speaker to share his extreme experience with us. Shoalhaven Council
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