Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Deaths of Debra Alexandra TILL and Craig Allan RAABE

Delivered on: 18 August 2015

Delivered at: Perth

Finding of: State Coroner Fogliani

Recommendations: Yes

Recommendation No. 1

I recommend that the Western Australian Government consider introducing mandatory inspections in Wind Regions D and C in order to achieve greater construction compliance with the applicable building standards set out in the Building Regulations 2012.

Recommendation No. 2

I recommend that the Australian Building Codes Board explore methods by which a large scale electronic map that is prepared in accordance with the smoothed coastline and the delineated wind regions be made accessible through the Web. This map is to be updated if and when the Australian Standards change the delineated wind regions.

Orders/Rules: N/A

Suppression Order: N/A


Debra Alexandra Till died on 9 March 2007 and Craig Allan Raabe died on 10 March 2007 from injuries they received when Tropical Cyclone George hit their temporary accommodation camp, at a remote location south of Port Hedland in the early hours of 9 March 2007.  Both deceased were sheltering from the cyclonic winds in their pre-fabricated accommodation buildings, known as dongas.

The dongas were located in a cyclonic wind region but built by reference to design standards applicable to non-cyclonic wind regions.

The issues which were explored at the inquest hearing were the process by which the builder was granted the building licence for the construction of the temporary accommodation camp, the design process for the tie-downs of dongas, the standard of workmanship of the tie-downs and the origin of the error with regard to the correct wind region, how the error was made and why the error was not identified.

The Coroner found the dongas occupied by Ms Till and Mr Raabe suffered from structural deficiencies and that these arose by reason of a series of errors made by persons who had the knowledge and/or means to avoid them, had they applied proper standards of care and attention to the task at hand.

The Coroner noted that had the proper cyclonic Wind Region C structural standards for the dongas been complied with, the temporary accommodation camp would have better withstood the cyclonic winds, the destruction of the dongas would have been avoided and the fatal injuries suffered as a consequence of the dongas being destroyed were preventable.

The Coroner made recommendations concerning processes for the issue of building permits for temporary accommodation in cyclonic wind regions and processes for ascertaining wind regions.

The Coroner found that Debra Alexandra Till died on 9 March 2007 as a result of head injury with probable crush asphyxia and Craig Allan Raabe died on 10 March 2007 as a result of head injury and that both deceased persons died by way of misadventure.

Catch Words: Wind Regions :: Construction Compliance : Local Governments : Building Permits:  Misadventure.


Last updated: 8-Feb-2024

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