Three farm workers die in slurry tank accident

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The Independent Online

Three farm workers died after falling into a 12ft-deep tank of slurry early yesterday morning in an accident under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Three farm workers died after falling into a 12ft-deep tank of slurry early yesterday morning in an accident under investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The bodies were recovered from a muck-spraying container on a farm in Great Hockham, near Thetford, Norfolk. Initial inquiries suggest that two of the men tried to rescue a colleague who had fallen in but were overcome by slurry fumes.

An HSE spokeswoman said: "We do know that one man fell into the tank and we think the others went to rescue him but were overcome by fumes and also fell into the tank."

She said the slurry was chicken manure that was to be sprayed on to the fields from mobile spraying tanks owned and operated by the Thetford-based firm Enviro-Waste.

The men were pronounced dead at about 8am yesterday. A fourth was taken to hospital after inhaling fumes as he joined the rescue effort. He was treated at the West Suffolk Hospital but later released.

A police spokeswoman said the deaths were not being treated as suspicious and a joint investigation has been launched with the HSE.

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