UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Tributes paid to man who died in farm tragedy

Police at the scene

Police at the scene

First published in News
Last updated
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TRIBUTES have been paid to the 50-year-old farm worker who died in a horrific accident that has “rocked the community.”

The man, who had two children, died after the heavy machinery he was driving plunged into a slurry pit on Westcombe Farm in Hooke, near Beaminster, on Wednesday morning.

The worker, who has not been named, was transferring heavy slurry from one pit to another when his JCB vehicle fell into the pit and became almost completely submerged.

Emergency Services were called by fellow farm workers just after 8am, and it is believed the man was in the pit for more than an hour before his body could be pulled out.

Gilbert Berry, chairman of Beaminster Town Council, said: “It's absolutely terrifying, it's a tragic accident.

“I find it horrifying that these things still happen in this modern age, and all of my thoughts go out to the man's friends and family.

“Everybody knows everybody in the farming community around here and it has rocked the community and I am sure everyone is horrified by what has happened.”

An investigation has been launched by Dorset Police and the Health and Safety Executive into the accident, and the coroner will open an inquest in to the man's death next week.

James Wallbridge, 20, chairman of the Beaminster Young Farmers Club, lives and works on the farm next to Westcombe Farm.

Mr Wallbridge said: “It's pretty tragic and it is quite scary to hear about it with it being this close to home.

“I cannot think of a worse way to go.

“It does bring it home to you how dangerous it can be in this industry. We take risks every day but you just don't think about it that much and there are so many different types of slurry lagoons.

“It has scared me a bit to be honest, and I think it has scared a few others as well.”

Paul Bennett, West Dorset branch secretary for NFU Mutual, said: “It's a terrible accident.

“It's a dreadfully tragic accident and all of our thoughts go out to the family and friends of this man.

“The industry hasn't got a good record in terms of accidents and this type of incident does reinforce the need for all farmers to keep alert of the risks and to take steps to avoid these accidents.

“Everybody is shocked by it because it is so close to home and it is the usual thing that people think it's not going to happen in our area, so everybody has been shocked by it.”

Guy Smith, vice president of the National Farmers Union, has issued safety advice for farmers following the accident.

Mr Smith said: “Deaths from slurry gas still occur and these are made all the more tragic by the fact that so many people die who instinctively go to the aid of those in difficulty.

“If there is a problem, stop the pump, get the person to fresh air, but don't put yourself at risk, call 999 and advise the emergency services that slurry gas may be present.”

Comments (16)

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7:30am Fri 5 Sep 14

The Fish says...

Really Echo - "Update with video" - show some respect!
Really Echo - "Update with video" - show some respect! The Fish
  • Score: 31

8:34am Fri 5 Sep 14

JamesYoung says...

The Fish wrote:
Really Echo - "Update with video" - show some respect!
I think we should start encouraging people not to buy the paper for two days every time they behave like this.
[quote][p][bold]The Fish[/bold] wrote: Really Echo - "Update with video" - show some respect![/p][/quote]I think we should start encouraging people not to buy the paper for two days every time they behave like this. JamesYoung
  • Score: 24

8:42am Fri 5 Sep 14

The Fish says...

JamesYoung wrote:
The Fish wrote: Really Echo - "Update with video" - show some respect!
I think we should start encouraging people not to buy the paper for two days every time they behave like this.
Totally agree, but the way its been going recently they would'nt sell many!
[quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Fish[/bold] wrote: Really Echo - "Update with video" - show some respect![/p][/quote]I think we should start encouraging people not to buy the paper for two days every time they behave like this.[/p][/quote]Totally agree, but the way its been going recently they would'nt sell many! The Fish
  • Score: 5

8:52am Fri 5 Sep 14

unexpected error says...

I think maybe its time for the Echo to rethink what their readers actually want. I think if asked most would prefer the Echo not to try and be a regional 'Sun' or 'Mirror' type of paper but one that delivers the news with respect. I think they are forgetting that their paper covers a relatively small communtity where people know each other and find this sort of journalism disrespectful.
I think maybe its time for the Echo to rethink what their readers actually want. I think if asked most would prefer the Echo not to try and be a regional 'Sun' or 'Mirror' type of paper but one that delivers the news with respect. I think they are forgetting that their paper covers a relatively small communtity where people know each other and find this sort of journalism disrespectful. unexpected error
  • Score: 35

9:05am Fri 5 Sep 14

toyota777 says...

A very tragic and horrible accident,I feel sorry for his family.
A very tragic and horrible accident,I feel sorry for his family. toyota777
  • Score: 30

10:26am Fri 5 Sep 14

lakotasiouxwolf says...

I have emailed the editor and requested that they remove the video immediately. If this also upsets you, please could you also contact the editor and ask the same to be done. No one, but especially the family and friends, needs to see it. Thank you
I have emailed the editor and requested that they remove the video immediately. If this also upsets you, please could you also contact the editor and ask the same to be done. No one, but especially the family and friends, needs to see it. Thank you lakotasiouxwolf
  • Score: 20

11:55am Fri 5 Sep 14

SovietMIRV6 says...

Have they raided this poor guys Facebook page for comments yet?
Have they raided this poor guys Facebook page for comments yet? SovietMIRV6
  • Score: 0

11:57am Fri 5 Sep 14

Peter Arnold2 says...

I can't imagine people complaining if the video was on Westcountry News? If they had known about it, they would have covered it and their video would have been on last night. The Echo does a great job at bringing news to the locality, good or bad. It is a very sad story but the video is part of the multi-media world we live in. My thoughts are with the family.
I can't imagine people complaining if the video was on Westcountry News? If they had known about it, they would have covered it and their video would have been on last night. The Echo does a great job at bringing news to the locality, good or bad. It is a very sad story but the video is part of the multi-media world we live in. My thoughts are with the family. Peter Arnold2
  • Score: 9

3:44pm Fri 5 Sep 14

unexpected error says...

Peter Arnold2 wrote:
I can't imagine people complaining if the video was on Westcountry News? If they had known about it, they would have covered it and their video would have been on last night. The Echo does a great job at bringing news to the locality, good or bad. It is a very sad story but the video is part of the multi-media world we live in. My thoughts are with the family.
The point is the Echo are always over doing it trying to be sensational. Both the Wessex FM and BBC Dorset news sites have reported the story but without the need for 'video'.

Just because its 'part of the multi-media world we live in' does not mean we have to just accept it. I always think how would I feel it was one of my loved ones and I certainly wouldn't want a personal tragedy displayed in this way.
[quote][p][bold]Peter Arnold2[/bold] wrote: I can't imagine people complaining if the video was on Westcountry News? If they had known about it, they would have covered it and their video would have been on last night. The Echo does a great job at bringing news to the locality, good or bad. It is a very sad story but the video is part of the multi-media world we live in. My thoughts are with the family.[/p][/quote]The point is the Echo are always over doing it trying to be sensational. Both the Wessex FM and BBC Dorset news sites have reported the story but without the need for 'video'. Just because its 'part of the multi-media world we live in' does not mean we have to just accept it. I always think how would I feel it was one of my loved ones and I certainly wouldn't want a personal tragedy displayed in this way. unexpected error
  • Score: 11

3:59pm Fri 5 Sep 14

lakotasiouxwolf says...

Peter Arnold2 wrote:
I can't imagine people complaining if the video was on Westcountry News? If they had known about it, they would have covered it and their video would have been on last night. The Echo does a great job at bringing news to the locality, good or bad. It is a very sad story but the video is part of the multi-media world we live in. My thoughts are with the family.
My point is that when a family is grieving that such harrowing images are not required. By all means cover the events in words but please retain some decency and restrain yourselves from the use of upsetting photos or videos. What ever happened to responsible reporting?
[quote][p][bold]Peter Arnold2[/bold] wrote: I can't imagine people complaining if the video was on Westcountry News? If they had known about it, they would have covered it and their video would have been on last night. The Echo does a great job at bringing news to the locality, good or bad. It is a very sad story but the video is part of the multi-media world we live in. My thoughts are with the family.[/p][/quote]My point is that when a family is grieving that such harrowing images are not required. By all means cover the events in words but please retain some decency and restrain yourselves from the use of upsetting photos or videos. What ever happened to responsible reporting? lakotasiouxwolf
  • Score: 13

4:24pm Fri 5 Sep 14

Keill Randor says...

lakotasiouxwolf wrote:
Peter Arnold2 wrote:
I can't imagine people complaining if the video was on Westcountry News? If they had known about it, they would have covered it and their video would have been on last night. The Echo does a great job at bringing news to the locality, good or bad. It is a very sad story but the video is part of the multi-media world we live in. My thoughts are with the family.
My point is that when a family is grieving that such harrowing images are not required. By all means cover the events in words but please retain some decency and restrain yourselves from the use of upsetting photos or videos. What ever happened to responsible reporting?
I highly doubt the family are going to be any more distraught because of there being a video on the internet of the site of the accident. There is nothing upsetting about this in the clip.

All these attempts at politically correctness are quite frankly laughable.
[quote][p][bold]lakotasiouxwolf[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Peter Arnold2[/bold] wrote: I can't imagine people complaining if the video was on Westcountry News? If they had known about it, they would have covered it and their video would have been on last night. The Echo does a great job at bringing news to the locality, good or bad. It is a very sad story but the video is part of the multi-media world we live in. My thoughts are with the family.[/p][/quote]My point is that when a family is grieving that such harrowing images are not required. By all means cover the events in words but please retain some decency and restrain yourselves from the use of upsetting photos or videos. What ever happened to responsible reporting?[/p][/quote]I highly doubt the family are going to be any more distraught because of there being a video on the internet of the site of the accident. There is nothing upsetting about this in the clip. All these attempts at politically correctness are quite frankly laughable. Keill Randor
  • Score: -17

9:57pm Fri 5 Sep 14

livid99 says...

lakotasiouxwolf wrote:
I have emailed the editor and requested that they remove the video immediately. If this also upsets you, please could you also contact the editor and ask the same to be done. No one, but especially the family and friends, needs to see it. Thank you
Good luck, but they do not reply to these sort of requests. The disgraceful way they reported the death of the man on a stag party and lifted all the personal comments from his facebook page, was reported to the head of news at the Echo. Nothing - not even an acknowledgement. A public apology would have helped, but they cant be bothered with that. The so called "journalists" at the Echo appear to be work experience kids looking for a bit of sensationalism but with no idea of sensitivity. There are other ways of describing them too.
[quote][p][bold]lakotasiouxwolf[/bold] wrote: I have emailed the editor and requested that they remove the video immediately. If this also upsets you, please could you also contact the editor and ask the same to be done. No one, but especially the family and friends, needs to see it. Thank you[/p][/quote]Good luck, but they do not reply to these sort of requests. The disgraceful way they reported the death of the man on a stag party and lifted all the personal comments from his facebook page, was reported to the head of news at the Echo. Nothing - not even an acknowledgement. A public apology would have helped, but they cant be bothered with that. The so called "journalists" at the Echo appear to be work experience kids looking for a bit of sensationalism but with no idea of sensitivity. There are other ways of describing them too. livid99
  • Score: 8

11:21pm Fri 5 Sep 14

jusphil says...

Just don't buy the echo, this type of reporting is just like the sport .....bad news and a video of it as well. If you keep buying it the more they will do it. I will not be buying it until they change the style of reporting.
Just don't buy the echo, this type of reporting is just like the sport .....bad news and a video of it as well. If you keep buying it the more they will do it. I will not be buying it until they change the style of reporting. jusphil
  • Score: 8

6:46pm Sat 6 Sep 14

JackJohnson says...

jusphil wrote:
Just don't buy the echo, this type of reporting is just like the sport .....bad news and a video of it as well. If you keep buying it the more they will do it. I will not be buying it until they change the style of reporting.
Does anybody actually buy it? Or do they (like me) just read it online? I've only bought 4 or 5 newspapers (even ones with a good pedigree) that I can think of in the last 30 years.

Perhaps the OHEC feels the need to sensationalise headlines and stories to turn them into click fodder in the hope users might click on an ad while they're there?
[quote][p][bold]jusphil[/bold] wrote: Just don't buy the echo, this type of reporting is just like the sport .....bad news and a video of it as well. If you keep buying it the more they will do it. I will not be buying it until they change the style of reporting.[/p][/quote]Does anybody actually buy it? Or do they (like me) just read it online? I've only bought 4 or 5 newspapers (even ones with a good pedigree) that I can think of in the last 30 years. Perhaps the OHEC feels the need to sensationalise headlines and stories to turn them into click fodder in the hope users might click on an ad while they're there? JackJohnson
  • Score: 0

9:24pm Sat 6 Sep 14

lord god almighty says...

I understand that water sports enthuiasts can take a miniature canister of oxygen with them that they can inhale if they get sucked down under a wave for a long time. Why dont workers in slurry pits have a similar tool ?

http://www.spareairx
treme.com/
I understand that water sports enthuiasts can take a miniature canister of oxygen with them that they can inhale if they get sucked down under a wave for a long time. Why dont workers in slurry pits have a similar tool ? http://www.spareairx treme.com/ lord god almighty
  • Score: -6

11:40am Sun 7 Sep 14

JackJohnson says...

lord god almighty wrote:
I understand that water sports enthuiasts can take a miniature canister of oxygen with them that they can inhale if they get sucked down under a wave for a long time. Why dont workers in slurry pits have a similar tool ?

http://www.spareairx

treme.com/
It's a little more complicated than just having no air immediately available. Some of the gases in slurry are highly toxic, can be very fast acting and can mask the sense of smell. This accident involved a fall of heavy machinery so there's no way for anyone not directly involved in the investigation to know if the operator would have been able, or had time, to get to a cylinder of Spare Air. Even if he could have there's no way to know if he could have saved himself (or been rescued) before a cylinder of Spare Air ran out.

There are lots of health and safety rules to be followed including barriers, wearing of rescue harnesses/line, breathing apparatus and training for potential rescuers to prevent them from also becoming casualties - if not fatalities. The rules, and available training, should be enough to prevent this type of tragedy if followed adequately.

I'll leave it for the investigators to work out what went wrong this time, and what to change/improve to try to prevent it from happening to any other farm workers or their families.

Farms. So innocuous, yet unbelievably dangerous places.
[quote][p][bold]lord god almighty[/bold] wrote: I understand that water sports enthuiasts can take a miniature canister of oxygen with them that they can inhale if they get sucked down under a wave for a long time. Why dont workers in slurry pits have a similar tool ? http://www.spareairx treme.com/[/p][/quote]It's a little more complicated than just having no air immediately available. Some of the gases in slurry are highly toxic, can be very fast acting and can mask the sense of smell. This accident involved a fall of heavy machinery so there's no way for anyone not directly involved in the investigation to know if the operator would have been able, or had time, to get to a cylinder of Spare Air. Even if he could have there's no way to know if he could have saved himself (or been rescued) before a cylinder of Spare Air ran out. There are lots of health and safety rules to be followed including barriers, wearing of rescue harnesses/line, breathing apparatus and training for potential rescuers to prevent them from also becoming casualties - if not fatalities. The rules, and available training, should be enough to prevent this type of tragedy if followed adequately. I'll leave it for the investigators to work out what went wrong this time, and what to change/improve to try to prevent it from happening to any other farm workers or their families. Farms. So innocuous, yet unbelievably dangerous places. JackJohnson
  • Score: 5

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