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Tributes to port worker

PUBLISHED: 17:38 17 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

FRIENDS and colleagues today paid tributes to an Ipswich man killed in a freak accident at the town's port.

Robert Sands, 42, from Milden Road, was fatally injured when he was crushed between a lorry and a forklift truck at work.

FRIENDS and colleagues today paid tributes to an Ipswich man killed in a freak accident at the town's port.

Robert Sands, 42, from Milden Road, was fatally injured when he was crushed between a lorry and a forklift truck at work.

Mr Sands was employed by food and agriculture company IAWS Fertilisers UK, which is based at Cliff Quay.

A close friend said that Mr Sands' wife Lorraine and their two children, aged seven and 11 were absolutely distraught by the tragedy.

She said: "He was a lovely guy but quite quiet. They are absolutely devastated by this."

His wife is well known around the area and does lots of work for Ranelagh primary school where their children attend.

The family originally lived in Kings Lynn but moved to the town around three years ago when IAWS set up a base in Ipswich.

Mr Sands was a transport manager for the company and had been employed with them since 1983.

Michael Pratt, operations director at IAWS said that everyone on site was devastated by Mr Sands' death.

He said: "Robert will be sadly missed by everyone here, he has been with us all this time. It is a very sad time for us here and he was very popular with branches in the whole of the region."

A spokesman for the East Anglian Ambulance Trust said that Mr Sands had been working in Shed 14 at the time of the accident and died from abdominal injuries.

The incident happened at around 11am on Tuesday and despite being taken by ambulance to Ipswich hospital, Mr Sands died.

Robert Smith, manager of the Port of Ipswich said that everyone who worked there was stunned by the tragedy.

He said: "All the thoughts of his colleagues and people who down here that knew him are with Mr Sands' family.

"He was known to a number of the staff here and was well liked by everyone."

The Health and Safety Executive are now investigating the accident and a date for an inquest will be set after it has been confirmed exactly how Mr Sands died.

Mr Smith said the company, which has its headquarters in Ireland, closed as soon as the accident happened to allow investigations to begin.

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