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Family mourns Bundy man killed in horror woodchipper mishap

THE Bundaberg family of a man killed in horrific circumstances when he fell into a woodchipper have told of their shock after the incident.

Bruce Saunders, 54, died instantly after he became trapped in the machine while mulching branches at a Goomboorian property, near Gympie, on Sunday evening.

Mr Saunders' Bundaberg family and those who knew him took to the NewsMail Facebook page yesterday to pay their respects.

"It was very hard to wrap our heads around yesterday when we got the news about Uncle Bruce, it's a horrible incident," Katrina Harrington said.

"...just so hard to come to terms with," Mr Saunders' sister Susanne said.

"RIP Uncle," Scotty Schnabel said.

NewsMail readers were shocked by the news and showed their sympathy to the family.

"So horrific, can't even begin to imagine what they are going though. RIP to the man who passed away, and prayers for the families," Jenny Frew posted to the Facebook page.

"Very traumatic and so very sad. Thoughts and prayers with everyone involved," Angie Sleswick said.

Police investigating the incident would not confirm Mr Saunders as the deceased.

Two friends, who were working alongside the 54-year-old, desperately tried to free him as he was pulled into the machine, but police said the man died instantly.

Gympie police acting inspector Paul Algie said the circumstances were horrific, but the incident was not being treated as suspicious.

"He was placing a tree into a tree shredder; he's become entangled within the machine and has died as a result of his injuries," he said.

"He was found by his two friends, they attempted to get him out of the machine and were unable to do so."

The scene was one of the most harrowing he had come across in 16 years of policing, Act Insp Algie said.

"I went out there this morning to speak to officers from Brisbane and I'd have to say it's one of the worst incident scenes I've ever seen," he said.

"There was nothing that could be done to save this gentleman."

He could not go into details about the man's injuries, but said specialist police unit Disaster Identification Squad had been brought in from Brisbane to identify the man.

The three men had been using a hired woodchipper with a 15-inch blade, for the third weekend in a row, to help clear a woman's driveway when the horrendous event unfolded at 7.40pm.

Act Insp Algie said police and emergency workers who responded to the emergency call were confronted with a very traumatic scene.

"(They were) obviously dealing with the distressed people that were there, but also trying to process what they uncovered there around the tree shredder," he said.

They would be offered support services, Act Insp Algie said, while Gympie police work with forensic crash police from Maryborough and Workplace Safety Queensland.

The machine has been impounded by police and subject to a mechanical inspection, with results from specialist engineers not expected for at least a week.

Topics:  ambulance death editors picks police woodchip


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