Inquiry could take weeks

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THE Health and Safety Executive is continuing to investigate an industrial accident that claimed the lives of four West Suffolk men.

Brothers Tom Hazelton, 26, from Stanton, and Dan Hazelton, 30, from Rickinghall, Adam Taylor, 26, from Rickinghall, and Peter ‘PJ’ Johnson, 41, from Stanton, all died in the incident in Great Yarmouth on Friday.

The men died as they carried out building work at Claxton Engineering Services – a steel cage fell on top of them. All four were pronounced dead at the scene.

Home office post-mortem examinations of the men established the cause of death as asphyxia due to trauma.

An inquest into the deaths was opened and adjourned on Wednesday.

The joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) are now looking into what happened.

Senior investigating officer Det Chf Insp Neil Luckett, from the major investigation team said: “Investigations at the site and elsewhere continue. This will be a lengthy and complex investigation.

“The aim of the investigation is to find out what happened and why. The inquiry is still very much in the early stages and we will not be drawn into speculation about circumstances surrounding the incident.

“We continue to work closely with officers from the Health and Safety Executive to carry out a detailed investigation which will take several weeks.

“The families of those who sadly lost their lives are being supported by specially trained officers and our thoughts go out to them.”

The tragedy unfolded at about 2pm on Friday. Firefighters were initially sent to reports of people trapped.

Norfolk Fire Service deployed three crews from Yarmouth, one from Norwich and a specialist urban search and rescue team.

Norfolk’s chief fire officer Nigel Williams said: “The first crew made valiant attempts to seek out and save lives but unfortunately, because of the nature of the incident, this was not to be.

“While I cannot even begin to imagine the impact that this will have on the families, friends and work colleagues of those involved I am sure they would be comforted in some small way to know that Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service staff acted with the highest degree of professionalism and recovered their loved ones in a respectful and dignified manner.”

A statement from Claxton Engineering Services said the men were working for external contractors building a new facility for the firm.

“The company is fully cooperating with the investigation.

Everybody at Claxton is deeply saddened by what has occurred today and the company’s thoughts and sympathy are with the families of the four men,” it said.