LAKE Macquarie’s Brayden Asser had the whole world at his feet.
The 20-year-old snapped up an apprenticeship not long out of school – “which is hard to do, in today’s climate” – and had started to carve out his own path as an apprentice roof plumber, a job he “absolutely loved”.
Tragically, it was while working on the job that an incident left the youngster in the fight of his life.
Brayden was working at a Mayfield West recycling facility on March 8 when he fell six metres after stepping through a hole in a roof that was undergoing repairs.
The former Warners Bay High School student landed on a steel beam before he was carried down to safety by fellow workers.
His injuries were severe.
He was rushed to John Hunter Hospital where he remained for the next nine days fighting a brave battle to overcome a broken neck and fractured skull.
He died on Saturday after suffering a major stroke the day before.
“In a split second your whole life changes forever,” his devastated aunt Jodie Calvert told the Newcastle Herald. “It has been shattering for everyone, but we’re all sticking together as best we can. He put up a really brave fight.”
Brayden, his family said, was “just like any other young man”. He loved the beach and was a “mad bodyboarder” who spent a lot of his spare time catching up with his mates. His family was important to him, too, as was his career.
The Macquarie Hills man wanted to work in any trade and was “over the moon” when he picked up an apprenticeship as a roof plumber and “loved working”, in part because of the camaraderie he had with his workmates.
The contractor was working on a fire-damaged roof at Benedict Recycling in the Steel River industrial estate, with SafeWork NSW confirming on Monday that an investigation into the incident was ongoing.
The workplace safety authority issued a prohibition notice to the roofing contractor to stop work “until its fall prevention systems are improved”.
A spokesman for SafeWork NSW said the contractor had complied with that order.
The roof at Benedict Recycling was damaged after a fire in December, which the company said at the time was caused by extreme heat. There was also a separate fire in September.
Despite the pain of losing their loved one, Ms Calvert said the family was treating Brayden’s death as a tragic accident.
“We don’t place any blame on anybody,” she said.
“It has been from their point of view an absolutely horrific accident, a tragedy. We know there is an investigation that will occur, but at this time it is the least of our worries.”
She added: “We can’t change what happened.”
The family thanked Brayden’s coworkers, paramedics, the Newcastle police rescue squad and the staff at John Hunter Hospital.
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