Workers’ bodies recovered from under recycling plant wall

Forensic officers gather evidence at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling in Birmingham. Picture: SWNS

Forensic officers gather evidence at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling in Birmingham. Picture: SWNS

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The bodies of five workers killed after a wall collapse at a metal recycling plant have been recovered.

The final three victims were removed from beneath tonnes of metal and concrete rubble yesterday after a two-day operation by emergency services involving the use of heavy lifting gear.

All five workers were pronounced dead at the scene following the incident at Hawkeswood Metal Recycling in a heavily industrialised part of the Nechells area of Birmingham at about 8:40am, yesterday.

Two of the dead were taken from the scene on Thursday, while the remaining three were set to be taken to a mortuary in nearby Coventry.

Forensic post-mortem examinations are set to be carried out on the victims on Monday and the coroner has been kept closely informed of developments.

Detective Superintendent Mark Payne, of West Midlands Police, told family and friends who had gathered at the scene: “We have safely recovered all five of the men. We’ve recovered all the people, moved everything out of the way and we’ve managed to recover them safely and with dignity.”

Earlier, there were emotional scenes as loved ones expressed concern at how long the delicate recovery operation had been taking.

The brother of one of the victims pleaded with emergency services at the cordon to “Please God, take him out” of the rubble. Boubakaray Sera, 56, from London, said he was the “only one left” after the death of his brother, Bangaly Dukureh.

He told reporters he had last spoken with his brother at Eid, to wish him well. The father-of-nine said: “He was very healthy, there was nothing wrong with him.

“Then one day he came here and he’s dead.”

Mr Sera said his brother had a 15-year-old son.

Later he pleaded in tears with police officer at the scene to bring his brother out.

He said: “He wanted to go back to Gambia in October - now this has killed him.”

The dead are all originally from Gambia and were Spanish nationals, who were working to clean out a metal storage bay when a side wall collapsed on them.

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