Stephen Perry death inquest 'an emotional roller coaster' for miner's family

Listening to testimony about Perry's accident in 2012 has left his family, at times, in tears.
Stephen Perry, seen here with his daughter, Brittany Boyd-Perry, was 47 years old when he was killed in the accident at Vale's Coleman mine in 2012.

As the inquest into the 2012 accident that claimed the life of Corner Brook's Stephen Perry at a Vale mine in Sudbury continues this week, his six siblings in the audience are having a tough time with the process.

"It's just been a real emotional roller coaster for everybody," Perry's brother Tom Perry told CBC Radio's Corner Brook Morning Show.

"Especially my niece [Stephen's daughter] Brittany, and all the people involved in the accident directly."

It would be great for the family, that something good could come out of this.- Tom Perry

A five-person jury is listening to testimony in the mandatory public inquest, taking place in a Sudbury courtroom.

Tom Perry said the hardest part so far has been hearing details of his brother's death.

"When the supervisor found Steve … when he talked about that, he had a real hard time. And I think there wasn't a dry eye in the courthouse," said Perry.

"It was tough."

Making changes

Stephen Perry was killed when he was struck by a 14-tonne rock that had broken away from the face of the mine.

Stephen Perry had worked in mining in Sudbury for 16 years before his death. (Facebook/CBC Corner Brook )

Tom Perry said screening rock faces with a safety barrier is on the list of recommendations to come out of the inquest.

"This face has been an issue for many, many years in the mining industry, so they're finally addressing that, which is really huge," said Perry.

"It would be great for the family, that something good could come out of this."

Perry added the mining company and the union have both been co-operative since his brother's death, and Vale has been proactive in making safety changes and innovations to prevent similar tragedies.

But the Perry family isn't pleased it's taken four years for the inquest to happen.

"We're not very happy with that. It's quite a length of time, four years after, and we gotta rehash this whole thing over again. it's pretty tough," said Perry.

The mandatory inquiry is expected to last five days and hear from about 10 witnesses. The results could lead to future recommendations.

With files from Bernice Hillier