Scottish farmer died in accident at farm where brother was killed by combine harvester

A farmer died at farm where his brother also passed away.
A farmer died at farm where his brother also passed away.
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A contractor has died in a tractor accident – at the farm where his brother was killed by a combine harvester five years ago.

Neil Ironside, 47, described as “devoted father and husband”, died at Auchlinn Farm, in the Fisherie area of Turriff, Aberdeenshire, on Saturday morning (10 Nov).

In August 2013 his brother Alan, 39, suffered massive head injuries when he was dragged into a combine harvester after clearing a blockage at the same farm.

Last night, the local community described it as “absolutely tragic” and said it was a stark reminder of the dangers of farming.

The brothers’ devastated family were too upset to speak at their home in Netherley, near Stonehaven.

On Saturday, police, ambulance and a fire crew were called to the farm at about 11am but Mr Ironside could not be saved.

Police were still at the farm yesterday, working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to piece together what happened.

The barn was sealed off, along with a few vehicles in the yard.

Neil Ironside, director of KW Contractors, based in Bridge of Don, Aberdeen, worked on a variety of projects, such as school upgrades across Aberdeenshire and for the oil and gas sector.

Turriff councillor Iain Taylor, who knows the family, said the accident was particularly tragic given the death of Mr Ironside’s brother in 2013.

“The family lost another son in other tragic circumstances five years ago,” he said.

“We are absolutely shell-shocked and that’s how they must be feeling.

“He had a successful business in Aberdeen and my understanding was he coming back to the family farm. Sad is not the word, it’s tragic.

“It’s absolutely horrendous. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.”

Donald Law owns the Lairhillock Inn, close by to Mr Ironside’s home.

He said: “It’s just an absolutely tragic loss for everyone. He was a devoted father and husband.

“Everybody is in complete shock.”

A fatal accident inquiry held in 2016 heard that Mr Ironside’s brother Alan had died as he tried to clear a straw blockage from a Class Lexion 460 combine.

He was sucked into the machine when his father Andrew accidentally switched it on, causing fatal neck and head injuries.

Sheriff Philip Mann told the court the type of accident was “all too familiar” in the farming industry.

Last night, retired Turriff farmer George Cassie said his thoughts were with the Ironside family once more.

He said: “It’s a dangerous job. I was in a farming accident 14 years ago, a baler fell on my head.

“Accidents happen but there’s a lot more now than there used to be. It’s terrible news.”

A police spokeswoman said: “We were called to a farm in the Fisherie area of Turriff in relation to the sudden death of a 47-year-old man at around 11am on Saturday, November 10.

“There are no suspicious circumstances. Police are liaising with the Health and Safety Executive and as with all sudden deaths a report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal.”

A fire service spokeswoman said a crew of seven firefighters from Turriff had attended at about 12pm and made the scene safe.

A Health and Safety Executive spokeswoman added: “HSE is aware of the incident and supporting Police Scotland who are leading the investigation.”