12:00 am, Thursday 6 December, 2007
Source: The West
Victoria’s workplace safety watchdog will investigate whether a broken harness may have led to the death of a man in a grain silo accident in the state’s west.
The 58-year-old entered the silo about 3.30pm (AEDT) on Wednesday to clear a blockage at the grain facility in South Boundary Road, Hamilton, police said.
But the man became trapped when he sank chest deep into the canola grain.
Police said the man died just before 8pm despite efforts by search and rescue unit members and Country Fire Authority crews to rescue him.
Worksafe Victoria spokesman Michael Birt said an inspector was at the site and would return to the silo.
“One of our inspectors from Warrnambool was up there overnight,” Mr Birt said.
“(The man) was wearing a harness when he went in, but the rope may have broken and he’s sunk into the grain up to his chest,” he said.
“We don’t have a lot of detail yet.
“We will be back there today.”
The 12-hour ordeal ended at 3.30am today when rescue workers were able to retrieve the man’s body after drilling holes near the base of the silo to drain the grain.
“There were numerous attempts by search and rescue squad members, along with the Country Fire Authority to retrieve him, but that was unsuccessful,” Senior Constable Karla Dennis told Southern Cross Broadcasting.
“About 3.30 this morning they pulled his body out,” Snr Const Dennis said.
“They had to drill some holes in the end to let the grain slowly drain out.”
Police have not released the name of the dead man, who was from Hamilton.
A report will now be prepared for the coroner.
WorkSafe inspectors also were preparing a report.
WorkSafe said so far this year 23 people had lost their lives in workplace accidents in Victoria.