Five confirmed dead in Birmingham factory accident

FIVE people have been killed in an industrial accident at a Birmingham recycling centre, police have confirmed.

Emergency services were called to Hawkeswood Metal in Nechells at 8.45 this morning following reports that a wall had collapsed.

Police were alerted by West Midlands Ambulance Service and when they arrived at the recycling centre, in Aston Church Road, they found the men – thought to work at the centre – trapped under rubble.

They were all pronounced dead at the scene. Another man has been taken to hospital with serious leg injuries.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is investigating the cause of the accident and a specialist team is assisting at the scene.

Detective Superintendent Mark Payne, of West Midlands Force CID, said: “We are still in the very early stages of this investigation to determine exactly what happened.

“Sadly five people have lost their lives and we have several teams of specialist officers supporting their families at this time.

“This has been a very traumatic incident for those who were at the site this morning and we will continue to work alongside the HSE and the other emergency services at the scene.”

West Midlands Fire Service said it appeared that a large concrete structure containing metal had collapsed, trapping a number of people.

A Technical Rescue Advisor with the brigade attended the scene to assess what rescue resources were needed.

However, it quickly became apparent that it would be a recovery operation.

The fire service deployed the full resources of its specialist Technical Rescue Unit (TRU), which involved heavy lifting and cutting equipment, and a team of 10 officers.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Gary Taylor, of West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS), said: “This is a devastating incident for everyone involved. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the victims’ families and colleagues.

“Once the police have finished their initial examination of the scene, our absolute priority will be to ensure that the bodies of those who have lost their lives are recovered in the most timely and safe way possible, and with the utmost dignity and respect.

“The scene is an extremely challenging one, involving significant tonnage of concrete and metal and a structure that is still unstable. We have an assertive recovery plan in place and expect this operation to take several hours.”

Latest accounts for Hawkswood show the company has a turnover of £30m (for the year to April 2015) and employs 26 staff.

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