Suffolk company mourns dead workers

A SUFFOLK company was closed today as a mark of respect after a tragic accident in which two employees died.Health and safety officers have launched a major investigation after a father and son died while working on a disused marine fuel tank on a Suffolk waterway.

A SUFFOLK company was closed today as a mark of respect after a tragic accident in which two employees died.

Health and safety officers have launched a major investigation after a father and son died while working on a disused marine fuel tank on a Suffolk waterway.

A health and safety spokeswoman confirmed an inspector will visit the site today at Oulton Broad, Lowestoft.

She added: "It is to early to go into any details. We don't want to speculate on what might have happened."


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They had been working in the five-metre diameter, 15-metre long tank for marine engineers Small and Co at the shore of Lake Lothing, Lowestoft when they became trapped.

A spokesman at Small and Co said the company was closed until Monday out of respect of the two dead workers.

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The bodies of the two engineers, both believed to have been married with children, were recovered at around 9.30pm yesterday after a seven-hour operation involving more than 30 firefighters from across Suffolk, paramedics, police, coastguard and harbour workers.

It is believed the men had been overcome by fumes.

The men, who were welders for the Lowestoft-based marine engineering company Small and Co, had been working inside one of four partly submerged tanks moored together off land owned by Associated British Ports (ABP).

At one point it was suggested that there had been an explosion in the tank, believed to have last been used for fuel storage more than 20 years ago.

But Suffolk divisional fire officer Eddie Meelan said there was no evidence to support the claim. He said the operation had been difficult.

"There was fuel slurry in the bottom of the tank," he said.

"But there has been not explosion the we are aware of. They had entered into an oxygen deficient atmosphere and they had been overcome," he added.

"We were not aware of any oxygen monitoring equipment."

Engineers from Small and Co also helped in the release of the bodies.

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