Avonmouth explosion: Teenager named among four people killed in water works tragedy

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A teenager has been named among the four people who lost their lives in an explosion at a water works in Avonmouth yesterday (December 3).

Michael James, 64; Brian Vickery, 63; Raymond White, 57; and Luke Wheaton, 16 lost their lives in the incident, at around 11.20am.

Police enquiries are ongoing following the explosion at Wessex Water’s Bristol water recycling centre.

Emergency services were called to reports of a large explosion involving one of the chemical tanks at the site, off Kings Weston Lane.

A cordon at the site is likely to remain in place over the coming days while police conduct an investigation into the cause of the incident, with the support of the Health and Safety Executive and a team of chemical and mechanical experts.

Specially trained officers are supporting the families of the individuals who lost their lives in the incident. Formal identification is yet to take place and post mortem examinations are underway.

A fifth person who was injured is now at home and investigators will be speaking to them when appropriate.

Supt Simon Brickwood of Avon and Somerset Constabulary said: “I’d like to extend my heartfelt sympathies to the families of those involved in yesterday’s tragic incident.


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“An investigation has been launched into the causes of the explosion, with the support of partner agencies and the Health and Safety Executive. This is likely to be ongoing for some time and we will be keeping the victims’ families informed throughout.

“We appreciate the impact this incident has had on the local community and we thank those affected for their patience while our investigative work is carried out. The local neighbourhood policing team is available to address any concerns members of the public may have.

“I’d like to pay tribute to those involved in the emergency response, who have been at the scene throughout the night under very difficult and challenging circumstances.”

Giles Hyder, HSE’s head of operations in the South West said: “We send our deepest condolences to the families of those who tragically died. It is important a joint investigation is carried out.

“We will provide specialist support to what is likely to be a complex investigation under the command of the police.”

Wessex Water Chief Executive Colin Skellett said: “We are all absolutely devastated by what has happened.
“Our hearts go out to the family, friends and colleagues of those who lost their lives during the tragic event on Thursday.

“I know from the thoughts and comments I have received from so many, that this has affected the whole Wessex Water family.

“I know Avonmouth, I worked there for many years, and I know the people, some of whom have lost their lives during this terrible incident.”



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