The concerned girlfriend of a young tradie who died after a 20-metre fall when a glass roof collapsed at Perth’s Curtin University texted her partner to make sure he was OK after learning of the fatal incident.
Kylie Galende sent four texts without reply to 23-year-old Jonnie Hartshorn on Tuesday, the final being an emotional expression of love after realising her boyfriend was one of the workers involved in the construction site collapse, The West Australian reported.
As news broke of the incident, Ms Galende texted Mr Hartshorn at 1.47pm to double check which site he was working on.
Twenty minutes later she asked, “Not Bentley?” – a reference to the suburb where Curtin University is located.
Without a response for more than 40 minutes, she messaged again asking for a quick message “if you are OK”.
Tragic last text
After more than an hour and a half had passed, she sent her final message, appearing to have information of Mr Hartshorn’s involvement in the incident.
“I’m hoping and praying you are going to be OK,” she wrote.
“I’m a mess and I always think life is too short and I’m so stupid I should have just told you on the weekend how much I have fallen in love with you and I don’t know what I will do without you in my life.”
On Wednesday, Ms Galende changed her profile picture to a photo of the couple kissing, while captioning the picture: “Forever would never have been long enough.”
He is in a critical but stable condition in intensive care.
A third worker inside the building at the university's Bentley campus who fell about 10 metres is in a stable condition.
Both injured men are in their 20s.
West Australian police and emergency crews overnight on Tuesday retrieved Mr Hartshorn's body after using specialised equipment and calling in engineers to declare the building safe to enter.
Probe commences into ‘catastrophic failure’
A WorkSafe investigation is under way, with a team of six investigators attending the site on Tuesday.
WorkSafe WA Commissioner Darren Kavanagh said there had been a "catastrophic failure".
"We will conduct a thorough investigation to identify the cause," he told 6PR radio on Wednesday.
Premier Mark McGowan said the incident was a tragedy.
"All of us are shocked and saddened by the loss of a young life. We are also concerned for the future of those people who have been injured," he told reporters in Geraldton.
He urged MPs to pass his government's industrial manslaughter legislation which would enforce a maximum penalty of 20 years' imprisonment for workplace deaths.
Electrical Trades Union WA organiser Damian Clancey witnessed the collapse, which happened during a lunch break in front of dozens of workers.
He said there could have been many more deaths and injuries had it happened just five minutes earlier.
CFMEU state secretary Mick Buchan said he had been made aware after the incident of issues with "deflection in the structural steel".
"Those issues were addressed by structural engineers ... (but) I understand that there were some concerns," he said.
"It's 2020. These events should not occur in the building and construction industry."
The building, which is to house the university’s new architecture school, was due to be completed in 2021.
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