Craig Nigel Gleeson, 45 and Alistair Michael Lucas, 25, were maintenance workers for Copper Mines of Tasmania.

One of them is believed to have been killed instantly, while the other died on the way to hospital.

The accident was attended to by an on-site rescue team as well as rescue teams from the nearby Renison and Roseberry mines. One of the bodies remains in the mine as the police conduct investigations at the location, while the other is at the hospital.

General manager Scot Clyde offered his condelences to the workers’ families. He said in a statement: “Our deepest sympathies are with the families of the two workers, their immediate workmates and also our other site employees who will be saddened by this tragic accident.”

West Coast mayor Robyn Gerrity says Queenstown is a resilient community that will come together to support the men’s families.

She said: “Everyone knows everyone, even in other towns everyone know relatives of these people. It’s just the way the west coast is.”

Since 2000 there have been six deaths in Tasmania mines.

Police and Workplace Standards are investigating and the coroner is on the scene. The mine will be closed tomorrow.