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 the 30th 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.
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. So began one of the most amazing rescue attempts in history.
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 re-fine an explosive charge that would tunnel through the rock without killing the miners. 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.
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.
Darren’s presentations are always passionate and thrilling however Darren includes a mix of humour as well to ensure audiences are taken on a roller coaster ride. He draws guests into a real life drama. His presentation and stories are truly memorable. Darren is considered by the industry to be one of the very best motivational and inspirational speakers in Australia.
Darren has received thousands of letters from all over the world recognizing him as the man who blasted the miners to freedom, some people have called him the new Red Adair. But his most treasured letter is from Todd that says “thanks for saving my life”.
Darren is a humble and reluctant “celebrity” who has appeared on Sunrise at Seven, The Today Show, A Current Affair and Sixty Minutes to name a few. But for audiences who hear him speak he is an ordinary guy who shows what can be done when called upon and the potential to be extraordinary.
A very moving story of survival, risk and the drive for families to be reunited
"Darren was extremely moving speaker. He was very emotional and honest. He made us laugh, cry, laugh and cry again. Evaluations from our delegates rated Darren an average of 5 out 5 with some putting 5++++
Darren was perfect for a Safety Conference and speaking to Safety Professionals."
"Darren was a fantastic choice for us. His story was truly inspirational, so genuine and real. His honesty and openness was so moving. It was an absolute privilege to hear his story. Our team took away some very real messages "
“To say it was an interesting, absorbing and dramatic presentation would not be doing it justice. His 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.”
“Darren's story is amazing - everyone in the room felt like they were there. Darren made our audience laugh, cry, but most of all realise how amazing we all can be. His story is truly memorable.”
ING Australia Limited
“In a nutshell, he blew everyone away. Several of our guys who have been with us for 10 years or more said he was the best speaker we have ever had. It was nice to have someone who wasn’t overly professional (that’s not a criticism) and didn’t look like he was ‘just going through the motions’. He is an ordinary, genuine man who was caught up in an extraordinary set of circumstances….everyone in the room was moved by his experience … a lot of our delegates are men in the construction industry - they’re not known for being easily affected. “
Hooker Cockram Projects Limited
Inspiring, and emotionally gripping – what a dedicated team can achieve.
National Oil and Safety Conference
“Excellent, what a inspiring delivery. Darren had everyone on the journey from the moment he started to the moment he finished. My audience laughed with him and cried with him, there wasn’t a sound in the room. It was such a moving presentation.”
“Darren's presentation received a long, standing ovation - celebrating his passion for human life and the frailties of our existence.”
"Darren was great! Very impressive! Very moving! He had a very attentive audience – you could hear a pin drop."
“I have never seen a presenter invite an audience in to experience the real emotions of his own real life experience. The way Darren presented made us all feel as we were actually there with him. At times we cried, at times we laughed, he was the best presenter I have seen in twenty-five years. That night Darren also joined us for dinner and he was swamped by both members and suppliers alike who merely wanted to speak with this guy and thank him for sharing his story.”
Leading Edge Electronics & Digital
“Darren was amazing. Darren’s story was so raw and emotional and moved every single person in that room. Our audience consisted of 30 – 50 year old tradesman who normally wouldn’t be seen shedding a tear, let alone from a speaker, but there was not a dry eye to be seen. Darren had strong messages weaved into his presentation that individually resonated with people, dependant on their personal situations. I heard comments saying that ‘I haven’t cried for 15 years, but he really moved me’. Darren’s presentation was truly a gift. Darren was by far the stand-out speaker of our Conference. His was an inspiration, and to add to that, he was genuinely a lovely, compassionate and personable man. We would definitely recommend Darren to any organisation.”
Master Electricians Australia
“Darren’s presentation has been the best we have ever ran. I have never received such an overwhelming response from so many people at this site. Importantly the safety messages that Darren is able to convey in his presentation really hit the mark for what we were wanting to achieve.”
“Whole audience was spellbound. Every single delegate rated his presentation as excellent.”
Careers Advisers Association of NSW
“Wow, what an amazing guy! Darren’s presentation was so moving and inspirational. He really puts things into perspective. He was just so generous with his time, emotions and advice. Words cannot describe our thanks for not only his group presentation but also the words he had for our staff afterwards. Thank you Darren for taking us on a small part of your journey.”
Domain Principal Group