Boy, seven, dies after falling off steam engine

  • @robhastings

A seven-year-old boy died after falling from the trailer of a steam-powered traction engine at an open-air social history museum in County Durham yesterday.

The boy, who was yet to be named, was pronounced dead at the scene having suffered serious head injuries during the accident at around 3pm the Beamish Museum near Stanley. The driver of the machine was taken to hospital suffering from shock.

Inspector Steve Dowdle of Durham Constabulary said: "The engine driver will be spoken to by police at an appropriate time and is being treated as a witness. The identities of those involved are not being released, but it is understood that neither of them was a visitor to the museum.

"Detectives and road policing officers are at the scene to establish exactly what took place."

The police, who have appealed for witnesses after being called to the museum by the ambulance service, are carrying out a joint investigation with the Health and Safety Executive.

Beamish re-creates life in Britain during the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras in a colliery village restored as it would have looked in 1913 – complete with fully-operating vintage trams and buses, a drift mine and a working farm.

The museum's director, Richard Evans, said: "We are naturally shocked and our thoughts are with the boy's family at this time. We took an immediate decision to close the museum for the rest of the day as we support the joint investigation."